Nine months after former and current employees of the Tabard Inn announced plans to save the historic hotel caught up in an ugly family feud, the once-stable D.C. institution continues to shed workers, including staffers in its high-profile restaurant.
The latest to leave is chef Paul Pelt, who apparently resigned last week. He had been executive chef at the Tabard Inn since 2007. The Chicago native previously worked at the Tabard during the 1990s, when he put in seven years as a line cook and a lunch chef. He returned to the boutique hotel in 2005 as executive sous chef before assuming the top job two years later.
“Earlier this week, Paul made the decision to pursue other opportunities. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and we thank him for the years of dedicated service and commitment to providing culinary excellence to Washington residents and visitors," Tabard Inn general manager Ryan Thackaberry said in a prepared statement.
Pelt apparently has signed a confidentiality agreement and could not speak about the matter. His name has been removed from the Tabard Inn Web site, with no replacement yet named.
The chef follows a long list of employees who have been fired or left the Tabard in the wake of a power struggle between family members who own a majority of the business. One former employee said at least 40 staffers have been fired or left since May 2013, including pastry chef Huw Griffiths who was apparently fired in October.
Several former employees filed lawsuits in June 2013 in D.C. Superior Court, alleging sexual harassment and/or wrongful termination against the Tabard Corp., owner of the hotel and restaurant. In November, former general manager Jeremiah Cohen, son of Tabard Corp. president and CEO Fritzi Cohen, filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging his mother had mismanaged the employee stock ownership plan and fired him over his attempts to raise questions about it. (Employees own 30 percent of the Tabard Corp.'s shares.)
The cases remain open, said attorney Denise Clark, who represents the employees. The plaintiffs have denied all charges.
A number of former and current employees have also banded together to form Save the Tabard, with a plan to buy enough shares of the Tabard Corp. to get control of the historic inn and restaurant. There has been no movement on the campaign, and the group came up well short of its goal to raise more than $500,000.