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Mario Batalis company closes Las Vegas restaurants in the middle of the investigation



With Mario Batali under pressure for allegations of sexual harassment, hundreds of his employees will soon be out of jobs as his culinary empire is about to start To close some of its biggest restaurants this summer.

Batali's three restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip will close in the next 60 days, according to a statement from the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.

"I am writing this morning with sad news," said Joe Bastianich, Partner of the B & B Hospitality Group, on Friday in a letter to all 298 affected employees. "B & B Ristorante, Otto and CarneVino in Las Vegas close on July 27th."

"These restaurants continue to be successful, and they pay homage to each of you who work in them and provide great dining experiences for our guests," wrote Bastianich.

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation owns all three restaurants and the upcoming closures came as a result of Sands Corp.'s decision to end all dealings with the Batali brand.

According to a company representative, the B & B Hospitality Group will work to help its employees secure new jobs. Despite the reduction in connections to Batali, Sands Corp. also offered to help restaurant staff to find new opportunities too.

A representative from B & B Hospitality told TODAY Food that the closure was "a decision based on Mario". The group, which employs more than 1,000 people in more than two dozen restaurants worldwide, has taken Batali out of daily business in December, is now talking to the celebrity chef to buy his financial stake in the company.

Batali's Food TV career also ended late last year when he was fired by ABC's The Chew and the Food Network, where he often starred with celebrity chefs such as Giada De Laurentiis.

The announcement of the closure of the restaurants follows a recent "60 Minutes" interview that revealed new details of Batali's alleged misconduct. Since then, a criminal investigation has been initiated by the New York City Police Department.

Amidst the brand's struggle to move past Batali's alleged behavior, B & B Hospitality Group hopes to once again enter the market in one of America's top tourist destinations.

"I'm determined to continue our presence in Las Vegas … but it will be some time before we make it," Bastianich told his staff in Nevada. According to a company representative, Bastianich also visited each of the Las Vegas restaurants on Friday to speak directly to the staff about the degree.

"I know this is sudden and difficult," said the former Master Chief Junior Judge to his staff. "They are all committed professionals who serve our guests night and night, they are part of our family and we will all feel their loss."

He added, "Thank you for everything you've done for the restaurants and our guests, just be proud of everything you've achieved."


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