Beau Monde co-owner Jim Caiola on Sunday labeled "untrue" an allegation that family ties - and not merit - cinched the deal that put him and partner David Salama in line to run Tavern on the Green, the Central Park landmark owned by the City of New York.
The New York Post on Saturday reported that Caiola's sister is married to Kevin Sheekey, a former deputy mayor of New York. City officials told the Post that the entire process was handled by the book and that Caiola had no reason to divulge his family ties. On Sunday, The Post also reported that New York's comptroller was investigating.
"He and I had zero contact about this," Caiola told me Sunday. "We don't talk about my business or his business, anyway." Once the deal became close, Caiola said, "we had a feeling [the connection] would come up."
Caiola attributed the complaints to the fact that out-of-towners had cinched the 20-year contract. "It's like when I was an actor in New York," he said. "You study with Lee Strasberg, you live in the city, you take the subway, you audition - and someone from Ohio gets the role."