Bellini Troubles

Guiseppe (pictured) owns a 120-foot yacht called Gin Tonic.Photo: Charly Kurz/LAIF/Redux

In 1985, the Cipriani family, which has owned Harry’s Bar in Venice since 1931, opened Harry Cipriani in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel. Soon enough, they went about expanding. But in 2007, Cipriani impresario Arrigo Cipriani and his son Giuseppe pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Arrigo returned to Italy; Giuseppe told prosecutors he needed to stay in New York to run the the family business, which was assessed $10 million in back taxes and fines and reportedly owed millions to creditors. Then Giuseppe disappeared; last week, he resurfaced, at his restaurant and in “Page Six.” “He’s here,” his rep said. “He has a few business meetings.”

1985: Harry Cipriani opens.

1996: Cipriani Downtown opens on West Broadway and has seemingly had an exotic car parked outside ever since.

1997: Behind his dad’s back, Giuseppe buys the Cipriani Wall Street space—which is now a restaurant, event hall, and the “Cipriani Club Residences.”

1998: The Cipriani 42nd Street catering hall opens.

1999: The Ciprianis take over the Rainbow Room, then incite strikes by firing hundreds of union workers.

2002: Cipriani Dolci opens on a balcony in Grand Central Terminal.

2003: Cipriani Porto Cervo in Sardinia and the private club Cipriani Hong Kong open.

2004: Cipriani London opens.

2004: Mob turncoat “Mikey Scars” DiLeonardo testifies at Peter Gotti’s trial that Giuseppe paid him $120,000 to make the Rainbow Room’s labor problems “go away.” Giuseppe denies it.

2005: The Ciprianis’ plan to build the Leonardo complex on the Hudson River Pier 57 wins city approval.

2005: D.A. Robert Morgenthau receives an anonymous letter about Cipriani finances.

2006: They drop the Leonardo plan after the city’s Department of Investigations requests that Giuseppe submit to an interview about the Mikey Scars allegations in the presence of a federal agent.

2006: Dennis Pappas, a Cipriani exec who once served prison time as the finance man for the Colombo crime family, is indicted.

2007: Investigators later find that the Ciprianis were evading millions in taxes. Morgenthau lets Arrigo plead to a felony (which can mean mandatory deportation). And Giuseppe pleads to a misdemeanor—an agreement made, according to one source close to the investigation, so he’d have better odds with the INS.

2008: Giuseppe leaves New York, spends time at his Uruguay retreat, and works on plans to open Cipriani-licensed developments in Miami, Moscow, and Istanbul.

Roasted veal chop with natural sauce and sautéed spinach at Harry Cipriani.

Mixed berries, for dessert.

Giuseppe Watch
He says the reason for his jaunt was that he was drumming up overseas business. But according to a court official, the INS issued a deportation warrant against him. A Cipriani confidant says, “If it exists, we haven’t seen it.”

Regulars at Harry Cipriani
Joan Collins
Michael Douglas
Diane von Furstenberg
Richard Gere
Ron Perelman
Sean Connery

In 2005 David Brooks, a defense contractor, rents the Rainbow Room to throw his daughter a $10 million bat mitzvah; Tom Petty, 50 Cent, and Aerosmith perform.

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Bellini Troubles