2007_05_money.jpgWe knew holiday tips were trouble! The former doorman to a Sutton Place apartment building on East 52nd Street is suing his former employers for $2 million. Viorel Cincu says that he was unfairly fired after 17 years of service, after a videotape showed him allegedly stealing a colleague's $400 tip.

In December 2005, residents Raffi and Stephanie Asadorian left a $400 (!) holiday tip for their baby-sitter at the front door. Apparently they had given the envelope to another doorman, who, according to Cincu's lawyer, "put it in the fold of a newspaper." When the Asadorians' babysitter never got the tip, Douglas Elliman Property Management, which manages the Sutton House building, said that a security tape showed Cincu taking the money from the envelope. From the Post:

But Cincu said he wasn't even on the clock at the time - he was out to dinner. He said the tape, which is not date- or time-coded, shows him handling a different envelope at a different time.

But management didn't buy his story, and he was axed a month later.

The suit says the letter the Asadorians sent to Douglas Elliman was intended to "deprive [Cincu] of the respect, confidence and esteem peculiarly essential to [his] occupation." He has since been "held in contempt, distrust and ridicule" as a result, it says.

The Asadorians and a Douglas Elliman rep did not return calls for comment.

[Lawyer Douglas]Rosenthal said he believes that the money got tossed with the newspaper and that his client was "set up" to take the fall by a supervisor he didn't get along with.

Cincu's lawsuit says that it has been a "disastrous scandal" for him, as he has only been working part-time as a painter and now may face bankruptcy. We wonder if the union representing doormen was involved at any point, but it certainly seems odd that someone with 17 years experience would steal - especially with the cameras rolling.