Uncorking Scandal: Federal Investigation Puts Former Employees of NYC Wine Haven Sherry-Lehmann on the Hot Seat, Insider Sources Reveal

Uncorking Scandal: Federal Investigation Puts Former Employees of NYC Wine Haven Sherry-Lehmann on the Hot Seat, Insider Sources Reveal

  • Friday, 07 June 2024 01:20

Federal investigators appear to be nearing the culmination of their extensive inquiry into renowned wine emporium Sherry-Lehmann, with potential charges looming against its former proprietors for allegedly defrauding patrons of their prized vintages, sources close to the matter disclosed to The Post. In recent weeks, agents from the FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service have intensively interviewed several former staff members in anticipation of a grand jury session slated for last Thursday, insiders familiar with the investigation revealed to The Post.

Individuals questioned were probed about the purported practice of advertising wines for sale that were neither in stock nor acquirable by the establishment, divulged one source privy to the agents’ inquiries. The grand jury was convened last June in response to allegations from customers asserting they were deceived into purchasing high-value wines that were never delivered, alongside cases of wine entrusted to the establishment’s storage facility — Wine Caves — which seemingly vanished.

Sherry-Lehmann's co-owner, Shyda Gilmer, has faced accusations in legal actions brought by the company’s landlord, suppliers, and clientele, including charges of breach of contract, contempt of court, and fraud, according to court filings. Federal investigators have also scrutinized the involvement of Kris Green, a former hedge fund executive who acquired an undisclosed stake in the enterprise in 2013, as per sources briefed on the matter.

Despite the protracted duration of the grand jury’s deliberations, which can extend beyond a year, no charges have yet been brought forth. “It seems to be a highly active investigation that may be approaching its culmination,” remarked attorney Sheldon Gopstein, representing litigants pursuing claims against the retailer over unreceived wine futures amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Richard Schoenstein, a legal practitioner not involved in the case, affirmed, “A federal grand jury proceeding often spans a significant period, potentially exceeding a year,” citing the complexity of such investigations, involving numerous individuals and copious documentation.

Neither Gilmer nor Green responded to multiple entreaties for comment, while representatives for federal prosecutors, the FBI, and USPIS declined to provide statements. Sherry-Lehmann ceased operations at its Park Avenue premises in March 2023, following the discovery by the State Liquor Association of its operation with an expired license. The establishment has not since reopened its doors.

Federal investigators appear to be nearing the culmination of their extensive inquiry into renowned wine emporium Sherry-Lehmann, with potential charges looming against its former proprietors for allegedly defrauding patrons of their prized vintages, sources close to the matter disclosed to The Post. In recent weeks, agents from the FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service have intensively interviewed several former staff members in anticipation of a grand jury session slated for last Thursday, insiders familiar with the investigation revealed to The Post.

Individuals questioned were probed about the purported practice of advertising wines for sale that were neither in stock nor acquirable by the establishment, divulged one source privy to the agents’ inquiries. The grand jury was convened last June in response to allegations from customers asserting they were deceived into purchasing high-value wines that were never delivered, alongside cases of wine entrusted to the establishment’s storage facility — Wine Caves — which seemingly vanished.

Sherry-Lehmann's co-owner, Shyda Gilmer, has faced accusations in legal actions brought by the company’s landlord, suppliers, and clientele, including charges of breach of contract, contempt of court, and fraud, according to court filings. Federal investigators have also scrutinized the involvement of Kris Green, a former hedge fund executive who acquired an undisclosed stake in the enterprise in 2013, as per sources briefed on the matter.

Despite the protracted duration of the grand jury’s deliberations, which can extend beyond a year, no charges have yet been brought forth. “It seems to be a highly active investigation that may be approaching its culmination,” remarked attorney Sheldon Gopstein, representing litigants pursuing claims against the retailer over unreceived wine futures amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Richard Schoenstein, a legal practitioner not involved in the case, affirmed, “A federal grand jury proceeding often spans a significant period, potentially exceeding a year,” citing the complexity of such investigations, involving numerous individuals and copious documentation.

Neither Gilmer nor Green responded to multiple entreaties for comment, while representatives for federal prosecutors, the FBI, and USPIS declined to provide statements. Sherry-Lehmann ceased operations at its Park Avenue premises in March 2023, following the discovery by the State Liquor Association of its operation with an expired license. The establishment has not since reopened its doors.

In the wake of Sherry-Lehmann's closure and the mysterious saga surrounding Wine Caves, the curtain falls on an era of opulence and intrigue. As former patrons and industry insiders grapple with unanswered questions and lost treasures, the legacy of this iconic wine emporium becomes a cautionary tale, a reminder of the fragility of trust and the allure of the unknown.

Yet, amidst the uncertainty, there lingers a glimmer of hope—a hope that someday, the secrets of Wine Caves will be unearthed, and the cherished collections of its patrons will be restored. Until then, the enigma of Sherry-Lehmann serves as a sobering reminder of the ephemeral nature of fortune and the enduring quest for truth in a world shrouded in shadows.

As the dust settles and the echoes of past splendor fade into memory, one thing remains certain: the story of Sherry-Lehmann and Wine Caves will endure as a testament to the enduring power of curiosity, perseverance, and the timeless allure of fine wine.