John Catsimatidis is a self-made success. Starting with one supermarket in upper Manhattan in the early ’70s, he grew the Red Apple chain to ten stores by the time he was 24. In 1986, The Red Apple Group acquired the renowned Gristedes chain, and now they were the largest supermarket group in Manhattan. A tough area to grow a retail chain. The group also began to acquire and develop real estate. Catsimatidis runs a successful business and employs many of the local residents. He has expanded into fuel, convenience stores and a wide range of business operations.
Like most business owners, John believed his corporation provided a “firewall” against business-related lawsuits reaching his personal assets. Tragically, John was wrong. In a recent case called Irizarry v. Catsimatidis, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held John, as the supermarket’s owner, chairman, and CEO, was an “employer” within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standard’s Act (FLSA) and therefore was held personally liable for millions of dollars in damages in FLSA collective-action liability. Continue reading