New Lawsuits Highlight Conspiracy Allegations Over NFL Legend Emmitt Smith’s ‘Failed’ Las Vegas Restaurant
New lawsuits are pointing fingers at whose to blame for the two-year delayed opening of the Las Vegas restaurant, “Emmitt’s,” named after NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.
Filed in Clark County District Court, famous chef Rainer Schwarz is suing some of his former business partners through his business, Chef Rainer L.L.C., the Dallas Morning News reports. Schwarz alleges the partners “arranged a conspiracy to steal the opportunity to open and operate Emmitt’s for themselves while cutting Chef Rainer L.L.C. and Trilogy out of the deal entirely.” Smith’s limited liability company is one of the entities, but Smith isn’t named in the lawsuit.
Trilogy F&B Group L.L.C. is one of four entities named in the complaint that allegedly entered into an operating agreement in October 2021 to “develop, design, own and operate restaurants, lounges, and entertainment venues under the name of ‘Emmitt’s.’”
Less than a year later, Trilogy entered into a management agreement with Chef Rainer L.L.C., leaving the group responsible for leasing space in Fashion Show and building out the restaurant. Chef Rainer L.L.C. was set to manage and cover restaurant operations—including paying for goods, services, and utilities in advance of the opening—but things took a turn.
According to the complaint, Valley Water Mill L.L.C., a minority owner of Trilogy, changed the locks to the restaurant, restricting access to the chef and others. The additional defendant named in the case, president and CEO Darren Gillett of Gillett Construction L.L.C. of Vegas, is accused of overseeing the lock change and providing tours for chefs and vendors competing for the job.
According to Eater, those actions, without access to the restaurant space, resulted in Trilogy’s valuation dropping from $25 million to zero. Chef Rainer L.L.C. spent more than $2.2 million in costs associated with the restaurant’s opening, and only half has been reimbursed. The complaint states that Chef Rainer L.L.C. “was to receive an annual base salary of $450,000, and 2 percent of gross ticket sales for events and 4 percent of gross sales from the food and beverage operations at Emmitt’s, totaling $67 million over the life of the contract.”
Schwarz and his company are now seeking a temporary restraining order, restricting the defendants from “inflicting these irreparable harms,” described in the complaint.