It's been a bad weekend for Carrabba's founder and restaurateur Damian Mandola.
On Thursday, he was arrested in Hays County near Trattoria Lisina, a restaurant he owns in Driftwood. According to police records, the 61-year-old was booked into the Hays County Jail on April 3 after he was spotted driving recklessly in a golf cart and then broke into the Duchman Family Winery to allegedly steal a bottle of wine. He was released later that night after posting $5,000 bond.
On Saturday, Mandola was back at Duchman, where he proceeded to threaten Duchman Winery employees with a hammer before fleeing; he was later apprehended and arrested again by Hays County police.
According to an employee at the winery, who agreed to speak with us if we withheld his name, a visitor informed the staff that a Duchman sign was damaged at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The employee said he thought it was probably Mandola, so he called a Hays County Sheriff non-emergency number to have someone document the damage.
"Upon arriving back at the winery," the Duchman employee said, "an employee in the tasting room told me that Damian was on his 'Mule' -- basically an all-terrain golf cart -- and he was headed behind the winery. I headed outside, and upon reaching the corner of the building I heard a tire burst, which was the tire of my Toyota Tacoma. As I rounded the corner I witnessed Damian smash the back window of my truck."
The Duchman employee then took a few photos of Mandola brandishing a knife and a hammer, which are listed in the arrest report as "deadly weapons." According to the employee, Mandola threatened him, called him "a few choice names," and drove away on the golf cart. The employee then called the police.
Later that same day, as Duchman employees were dealing with a wedding that had been held at the winery, Mandola reappeared and "continued to taunt me," according to the employee.
"A Hays County Sheriff was onsite doing security, so I walked over and let him know that Damian was on the property," the employee said. "A few minutes later, deputies arrived with copies of the warrant and took him into custody."
According to arrest records, Mandola was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief. He was released on Sunday on a $15,000 bond.
Mandola has not responded to emails seeking comment, and he could not be reached at Trattoria Lisina. Hays County Sheriff's Department public information officers were not available on Sunday for comment.
This is not the first time the names Mandola and Duchman have been involved in a scuffle. In 2010, the Mandolas and Duchmans, once co-owners of the company Duchmandola, Ltd., had a falling out, resulting in Mandola removing his name from the award-winning wine being produced on the property and going to court to try to evict the Duchmans from the land that also houses Trattoria Lisina. The name "Lisina" is a combination of the names of the wives of Stanley Duchman and Damian Mandola, Lisa and Trina, respectively.
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