Chelsea hotspot owner let NBA players smoke weed, endangered staff: suit

An upscale Chelsea restaurant owner endangered staffers by letting two former NBA stars smoke weed — then fired a server for refusing to wear Air Jordan high tops due to an ankle injury, a new discrimination suit charges.

Former server Admir Cuturic says that Jue Lan Club housed in the old Limelight space was “extremely accommodating” to its “high-end patrons, which include rapper A-Boogie and NBA players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, allowing them to smoke marijuana in the club regularly despite servers’ repeated protests about the health risks posed to staff,” the suit alleges.

Pierce and Garnett won an NBA title together with the Boston Celtics in 2008, and retired in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The suit does not say when the alleged pot smoking happened.

Jue Lan Club owner, Naomi Ram, allegedly didn’t show the same consideration to its employees, abruptly axing Cuturic in late 2019 after he told her he couldn’t wear high-top sneakers to work, the Manhattan federal court filing says.

The lawsuit includes a screenshot of the alleged WhatsApp exchange between Cuturic and Ram. “Wear it or don’t come to work. Furthermore cut the bullsh-t. Its basketball sneakers. Not high heels,” she allegedly texted.

He replied, “Thank you so much for u understanding my problem” prompting her to fire him. “Pick up your things today,” she allegedly wrote.

Cuturic, who worked at the club for over three years, had sustained an injury in a 2012 car accident, according to the filing.

The lawsuit also accuses management of stealing staffers’ wages by “misappropriating their tips” and failing to pay overtime.

Cuturic is suing for unspecified damages alleging disability discrimination and labor law violations.

Jue Lan Club’s celebrity patrons have included Lil Kim, Ice T and Dj Khaled, according to the restaurant’s website.

Pierce, Garnett and Ram couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.


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