Racists never prosper. Maria Armendariz, owner of popular Manhattan restaurant Lorenzo & Maria’s Kitchen, is heeding this lesson now. She’s been slapped with a lawsuit by two ex-employees, Inelia Ortega and Enriqueta Luna, who claim their former boss harassed and discriminated against them.
Both women allege Armendariz referred to them as “Mexican whores” and prostitutes on a daily basis.
“She told me I was an assfaced Mexican, and that I came to the U.S. to rob Americans’ money,” Luna explained in an interview with DNA Info. Luna also claims Armendariz regularly called her an “old, fat woman with a big ass that was darker than a donkey.”
Ortega alleges similar abuse in her dealings with Armendariz.
“She would call me the ‘whore of the house,’” Ortega claims. “She said that I was going to rob her — that I came to America to steal.”
That’s only the beginning of the allegations. Luna also claims Armendariz’s boyfriend Nicodemus Pedraza exposed himself and propositioned her for sex. On one occasion he told Luna to ‘get on all fours’ so he could have sex with her.
Luna informed the owner, but Armendariz accused her of falsifying the claim. “The woman told me that I was crazy, that I was a hag,” Luna explained.
Ortega alleges she was also sexually harassed by Pedraza in the form of goosing, and Armendariz chastised her for his behavior.
“She said it was our fault, because we’re ‘loose women.” Ortega said.
Apparently the 30-year-old eatery has had its fair share of issues in the past.
One review on the New York Times restaurant page calls the customer service ‘despicable’ while another commenter witnessed the owner “shouting at the kitchen staff.”
A frequent guest commented as well and vowed never to step foot in the eatery again. “Nothing would make me shop here again due to the abusive owner, Maria. A real nut case. Screaming nonstop at her staff, in very loud Spanish, who cower in front of her. I asked her to kindly stop screaming, and she cursed me out.”
The lawsuit will appear before the judge this year.