Celeb vegan chef Matthew Kenney is facing a lawsuit from his Plant Food + Wine Miami landlord, The Sacred Space, which alleges unpaid rent for the duration of his lease, breaking his non-compete and failing to pay sales taxes, The Miami Herald is reporting. This is happening just as Kenney has also walked away from his namesake culinary academy, which has shuttered its Wynwood location.
While Plant Food + Wine remains open, The Herald reports that of July 1 its landlord has taken control of the restaurant. According to a complaint filed in March by Sacred Space owner Karla Dascal, Kenney’s company allegedly owes her more than $1.4 million in unpaid rent for the balance of the 5-year lease due to the broken lease terms, more than $98,000 in sales tax, plus attorney fee’s and other expenses. Also cited in the suit was a claim that Kenney broke his non-compete clause when he opened another vegan and raw concept inside South Beach’s 1 Hotel & Homes called Plnthouse earlier this year.
As for the culinary academy, Kenney’s assets have been sold to his former COO Adam Zucker, who has relaunched it as a new entity called PlantLab. However, some 15 students who have paid thousands of dollars to come to a course hosted by Kenney in Miami this July have been abruptly canceled on, while PlantLab figures out how refund or credit them.
This isn’t the first lawsuit Kenney and his businesses have faced over the years. He has been involved in lawsuits or leins in New York, Oklahoma City, Maine and Los Angeles, according to The Herald, with at least 21 complaints filed against Kenney or his companies since 2013 in California alone.