Avert your gaze from the rabble on Wall Street to the real victims of the modern economy: highly successful restaurateurs. It's really difficult to manage a restaurant empire when you're getting sued for back pay and lost tips by your staff, says Joe Bastianich, who co-owns Eataly, Babbo, and Del Posto. "Money-hungry lawyers, through frivolous lawsuits, are shaking down the very foundation of Manhattan's restaurant industry," the money-hungry businessman tells the Post. "Someone in Albany needs to understand the agenda, what this is really costing the greatest restaurant city in the world." Despite this harshest of anti-business climates, restaurants in New York City grew by 42% in the last decade.

Bastianich has been sued twice, but he isn't the only one: Jean Georges, Sparks, Mesa Grill, Nobu, Alto, and Balthazar have all been hit with class-action lawsuits that can cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. In many cases businesses settle instead of fighting in court. Workers allege that tips are incorrectly pooled or that the restaurant withholds tips to steal them. "This is an industry where people thought they were getting away with stuff," attorney Daniel Maimon Kirschenbaum says. Kirschenbaum won settlements from Bastianich and many others. "Restaurants have been getting away with this for a long time."

Eateries are allowed to pay waitstaff $5 an hour instead of $7.25 to account for tips, but if they violate the law, they're forced to pay $2.25 an hour to every server for each hour they worked when a violation was occurring. The Post attempts to paint the lawyers as the ones who actually benefit:

In the case of the $2.5 million Nobu settlement, $833,333 went to Kirschenbaum’s and other firms. The 200 or so workers who sued got an average payment of $3,300 each.

Just $3,300? Of the money they earned in the first place? Oh man, why bother.

All this exploitation of owners is forcing pioneers like Bastianich out of town. “We opened Eataly and put 700 jobs in the New York economy. Since then we haven’t opened another restaurant in New York, nor will we,” Bastianich said. “We opened three other restaurants, in California and Connecticut, worth 1,000 jobs that could have been here in New York." Maybe all those folks in Little Italy who lost their jobs after Eataly opened can move with him.