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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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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.