Pittsburgh restaurateur Kevin Sousa facing more legal troubles

Kevin Sousa, the high-profile chef who is busy opening a restaurant in Braddock, is facing new legal troubles.

Robert and Ruth Tortorete, the owners of the property in East Liberty where Mr. Sousa had operated Station Street Hot Dogs, have sued the chef and his wife for a total of $60,425.98.

The paperwork was not immediately available this morning, and the Tortoretes' attorneys declined comment.

Mr. Sousa has faced a number of legal filings over the past several years from various creditors including a landlord, a lender and a food supplier.

The Tortoretes on Thursday filed two confessions of judgment in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. One, filed under the name of their former business, the Original Station Street Hot Dog Shop Inc., is against the Sousas and their 1117 Group Inc. for $40,971.47. The other is for $19,454.51.

Mr. Sousa, who made his name at Salt of the Earth in Garfield and launched Union Pig and Chicken in East Liberty, operated Station Street Hot Dogs on Broad Street from February 2012 to November 2014. He has said he closed the gourmet wiener shop to focus on his Braddock venture, Superior Motors, which is under construction.

Mr. Sousa has acknowledged that he was financially overextended running Union Pig and Chicken and Station Street Hot Dogs simultaneously. But he bristled at the latest lawsuits.

"This is one that is unfounded and baseless," Mr. Sousa said Thursday evening. “This is something I completely don’t agree with. It's unfortunate. I always had a great working relationship with Ruth Tortorete."

Mr. Sousa said one of the filings pertains to kitchen equipment provided by the Tortoretes that remains at the restaurant to be passed along to the next tenant. He said he is on the hook for $65,000 for the equipment..

“Even if every payment was made that equipment would never be paid off," Mr. Sousa said. "Most of the equipment in there was ancient."

The other filing has to do with the remainder of the rent he owes and "a really high fee for them saying we didn't clean the restaurant properly. I contest that. I was there the last day we had keys, and the restaurant was in good shape."

Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com.


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