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Donald Fellner

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Exclusive: Court Rules Morimoto Shafted Business Partner

Grub Street has learned that Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has taken a big hit in state supreme court. A judge has ruled that Morimoto’s original business partner, Donald Fellner, is entitled to 45 percent of profits from his restaurants in New York, Philadelphia, and India, plus profits from certain endorsements and finally two appearances on Iron Chef for which Morimoto received a whopping $20,000. The partial judgment (which you can read here) states that in 2000, after Fellner befriended the future Iron Chef at the restaurant where Morimoto worked, they formed a company, Moridon, in which Morimoto and Fellner had 55/45 stakes. Moridon then entered into a contract with Steven Starr’s company, but according to the court, Morimoto broke the terms of that joint-operating agreement in 2004 by adding an amendment which unfairly excluded Fellner from Morimoto New York and all future ventures with Starr.