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Grahame Laborde, back in the Bernadine's heyday.
Grahame Laborde, back in the Bernadine's heyday.
Photo by Chuck Cook

Chef Graham Laborde's Father Sues Treadsack For $191,000

The father of former Bernadine's chef Graham Laborde is suing embattled restaurateurs Chris Cusack and Joey Treadway, claiming the duo's company owes at least $191,000 of a $200,000 investment.

Cusack and Treadway had already sought bankruptcy protection for three restaurants — Bernadines, Hunky Dory, and Down House — and the former two had already shuttered by the time the suit was filed in Harris County District Court on Tuesday. Graham Laborde is now at Killen's.

Under the terms of a December 2015 "investor finance agreement," Cusack, Treadway, and their company, Mothership Ventures, promised to repay a $200,000 investment from an entity controlled by Cliffe E. Laborde III called the Laborde Family Company, LLC. (There's apparently a requirement that all Cusack- and Treadway-related financial phenomena be as complicated as possible).

But, according to the lawsuit, Cusack and Treadway skipped a few of the monthly payments, and have only coughed up $8,559. Laborde demanded the full amount in January 2017.

This is the second investor lawsuit against the duo and their companies — Houston attorney Richard Rothfelder filed suit in March, alleging he was owed $60,000. Cusack and Treadway deny the allegations.

The Laborde infusion was not the only family money pumped into the restaurants: There was also a $400,000 loan from Ben and Nan Mason, who appear to be related to Benjy Mason, director of operations for the restaurants' management company, Treadsack.

Cliffe Laborde's attorney, Jason Williams, declined to comment.

In an email to the Houston Press Thursday, Cusack said, "There is no ill will between us and the Labordes. This is a business matter and we respect their need to do their due diligence. We believe that we'll resolve this amicably and we wish them the best."

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