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Jennifer Esposito's Gluten-free Empire in Flames

Celiac.com 03/21/2016 - Claims, counterclaims and a lawsuit have engulfed the gluten-free empire of actress Jennifer Esposito, and the people suing her include her new husband, British model Louis Dowler.

Photo: Wiki Media Commons--David of Earth (NY)The former "Blue Bloods" star opened Jennifer's Way bakery in 2012, after being diagnosed with celiac disease. Her small business empire includes the bakery and an online business selling gluten-free bagels, cookies and rolls.

The ex-wife of actor Bradley Cooper, Esposito is facing a $43 million lawsuit from her investment partners, who include Lawrence Wenner and David Drake, and her new husband, Dowler. The bakery remains open, but online sales flatlined, the lawsuit alleges, after the website was "hijacked" and redirected to the actress's personal blog.

According to court documents, her business partners, Lawrence Wenner and David Drake sank $250,000 each into the business and then loaned $1 million to establish a commercial plant in Queens to bake and ship orders, in addition to the retail shop that sold products made on site.

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According to the investors, Esposito failed to transfer ownership of the East Village bakery to the newly formed company, Jennifer's Way Inc., and has been uncooperative, and publicly combative. Wenner and Drake allege they were unable to obtain a needed loan because Esposito refused to cooperate.

As if a $43 million lawsuit isn't enough, things got even more exciting recently when, after making posts on Facebook to the effect that she could no longer vouch for the gluten-free status of the company's products, Esposito was served with a restraining order forbidding her from bad-mouthing the investors, according to the New York Post.

Court documents charge that "Esposito has instilled and promoted a groundless and downright false sense of fear that the very same products with the same recipes, coming from the same facility, that she once stood behind, are now unsafe to consume."

According to the Post, Esposito's lawyer has called the case baseless, and said the actress "was misled by her investors, and has done nothing wrong to warrant a lawsuit." Both sides are due in court in Suffolk County March 16.

Whatever the outcome of the suit, Esposito's legal woes won't end there, as she declared in court papers that she has filed for divorce from Dowler, citing "cruel and inhuman treatment," among the grounds.

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8 Responses:

 
cathy
Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
21 Mar 2016 5:25:00 PM PDT
Obviously written to portray her in a very negative way that isn't accurate. First of all, she didn't badmouth investors, she warned the celiac community that she couldn't guarantee how products were produced as this is a big concern for celiacs and they would want to know. She has done so much for the celiac community and helping those who are sick. This article was written to minimize her character simply to make it more interesting.

 
Mary
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
24 Mar 2016 3:27:26 PM PDT
To admin:
The judge probably simply agreed that she should make no comments since the lawsuit was still in the midst of litigation, not because the judge agree with the complaint. Furthermore, she actually can NOT vouch for the products that will be made if she is no longer in charge of what goes into them. It was her right to decide what ingredients should or should not go into the products. People should remember that she is the one who created Jennifer's Way and all the recipes for the products are HER RECIPES, which means, especially given that her name and image is associated with the products, SHE is the one who will be publicly humiliated should the products have any contamination problems. The investors, and Dowler, are the ones who created a hostile environment. I can't imagine what kind of man would enter into a business lawsuit against his new wife but that's not the issue. In the very beginning, he and Jennifer opened the bakery and she was in control. When the investors entered the scene, she announced that she was the CEO, the one in charge. It seems to me that they didn't commit to the time required for the business to take off. The fact that they would seek to push out the very creator of the business that soon after launching seems very suspicious as to the motives.

 
Jeff Adams
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated ( Author)
said this on
21 Apr 2016 5:26:56 PM PDT
The information presented in the article is all based on public information and public statements. We have no dog in this fight, and have not taken sides. The judge should and will decide, based on the merits of the case.

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
22 Mar 2016 1:47:26 PM PDT
A judge clearly agreed that her comments about the safety of the bakery should stop...why is that?

 
Jeff Adams
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated ( Author)
said this on
21 Apr 2016 5:24:37 PM PDT
The article was written to share the news about the lawsuit, and about the judge's order for her to stop making public statements questioning the gluten-free status of the bakery's products. You may disagree with the title, but the information in the article has all been reported publicly.

 
Mary
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
22 Mar 2016 2:12:38 PM PDT
It is too bad this had to happen. I wish they could have worked things out.

 
Pippy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
29 Mar 2016 6:29:10 AM PDT
I know you are telling the facts, but I like compassion too. Gluten Dude had a more personalized blog about this situation. He believes her. He knows her personally and I trust his character so I am inclined to believe her too. Divorce is ugly. I hope she can bounce back after this. I am grateful for her.

 
Jeff Adams
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated ( Author)
said this on
21 Apr 2016 5:30:56 PM PDT
This case should and will be decided based on facts, not on beliefs or personal feelings about the character of those involved. We are simply providing information that is already public and verifiable. Whether that is "compassionate" or not, is up to you.




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I believe the talk around this forum is that cheerios are not gluten free enough for people with celiac at this time. I don't know if anything has changed on that and when their lawyer calls me I'll quickly delete this. haha

Could be we generally say get off of dairy for a few months when going gluten free. The part of the intestines that produce the enzymes, and help break down dairy are associated with the tips of the villi, which are the most damaged if not gone in celiacs. THIS is why most of us end up with a lactose intolerance early on. And most can introduce it later after healing. As to her symptoms with it there was a bunch of research about dairy permeated the gut and causing neurological issues in a autism study I was looking at years ago. And there have been other studies about damaged intestines and how the hormones in milk can easier effect ones body. Personally I also have a huge grudge against dairy on a personal level as it is not natural to suck on a cows tits and drink the stuff, nor your dogs, nor a rabbits......I mean come on even Human Breast milk you would find odd to drink as an adult right? Back in the past dairy was a great way to get calories and fats when there was famine, etc around I mean it is meant to make a calf grow into a 500+lb cow. But on a genetic and hormonal level it is not really for human consumption and now days the whole corporate BS propaganda push and dairy farms shove that oh its healthy stuff down your throat. There are plenty of dairy free options for everything feel free to message me if you need help finding anything I have been dairy free for over a decade.

The full celiac panel checks TTG IGA and IGG, DGP IGA and IGG, IGA, EMA as Jmg stated above. Your test included TTG IGA and IGA. If your IGA was low, a low on TTG IGA would be inconclusive. But your IGA is fine. A high on any one test is a positive for celiac and should lead to an endoscopy for confirmation. So I'd get tested for TTG IGG, DGP IGA and IGG and EMA since there are symptoms. Warning I'm not a doc.

I did a gluten challenge for my endoscopy and requested a second blood test after my follow up with the consultant. I never did see those results but my GP said no celiac was indicated: Which left me gluten free for life, that wasn't an option after the challenge, but with a less satisfactory diagnosis, one by omission rather than the definitive 'you're celiac' one I was expecting. Yes! I have been 'properly' glutened on a couple of occasions but on several more I've detected a change or a reaction based on what could only have been trace amounts. NCGS is as yet poorly understood but patients tend to have more neuro symptoms than digestive. That's definitely been my experience, although it was only after going gluten free that I realised quite how many digestive symptoms I had just been living with as 'normal'. Close friends and family get the full explanation. 'I have an auto immune disease similar to 'coeliac etc.' If they stay awake long enough I'll tell them about the less than perfect testing process I went through or the Columbia Med research and the possibility of a blood test soon. They can see the difference between me on gluten and off it so they understand its not all in my head* If I'm ordering food in a restauarant or asking questions about food prep etc I will often just self declare as coeliac - people are aware of that and understand those requests are medical rather than fad diet based. I don't have any problem doing this, I'm not going to claim that and then cheat on dessert for instance and to be honest I expect once the research is complete the two conditions may wind up alongside others as different faces of the same coin. In the meantime I safeguard my health and avoid getting into a detailed conversation about genuine gluten sensitivity versus faux hipster posturing! *apart from the bits which are in my head

I originally had it on my face and scalp. (22 years ago) First biopsy with dermatologist came back as folliculitis. Then when I had a new outbreak on my upper back, she was able to remove a nice clean blister and we got the diagnosis of DH. She started me on Dapsone (100mg/day) and gluten free diet. Now I take 25-50 mg/day. My understanding at the time was that DH was the skin version of Celiac. Did a lot of research on my own. I met Dr. Peter Green at a Gluten free Vendors Fair and he said that a diagnosis of DH IS a diagnosis of Celiac, even if no other symptoms. So I stay gluten-free