A mom has sued Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice’s party planning girlfriend, claiming she returned no more than $ 33,000 intended for her son’s bar mitzvah.
The lawsuit against Elvira Grau, her husband and their business partner, Andrew Zang, was filed this week after the alleged incident began in January 2019.
Barrie Granito, a single mom and real estate agent on the Upper East Side, told me Page six that she paid Grau $ 35,510 to organize a bar mitzvah for her young son.
But after the party was rescheduled – and eventually canceled – due to the coronavirus pandemic, Grau was reportedly not going to refund the money.
Barrie Granito (left), a New York City real estate agent, has filed a lawsuit against Real Housewives of New Jersey’s boyfriend Teresa Giudice, Elvira Grau.
Pictured: Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice (left) and Elvira Grau (right)
According to Page Six, Grau is friends with local TV celebrity Teresa Giudice and has appeared on the long-running Bravo series.
Grau, owner of Space New Jersey in Englewood, also hosted events for Giudice.
Granito said she planned to have her son’s special party at Grau’s newest location in Manhattan, Space 54.
‘I knew Elvira in New Jersey was known for creating thrilling parties so I made an appointment and had a helmet tour [while Space 54] was still under construction, ”Granito said to Page Six. “I got really turned on.”
Granito claimed in the lawsuit and against Page Six that she intended to have her son’s Bar Mitzvah celebration at Space 54 (pictured), one of the newest Graus locations.
Her mother’s dying wish, Granito said, was for her grandson to have a bar mitzvah.
“ I signed a contract and left a deposit of $ 7,500 for a May 15, 2020 party, ” Granito told Page Six.
According to documents reviewed by the publication, the contract specified that ‘if Space 54 fails … due to an event or act outside and beyond Space 54’s control, [venue] liability is limited to a refund of the deposit. ‘
Marc Held, Granito’s lawyer, claimed that this meant all the deposit money.
Granito and Grau, 50, agreed to a $ 40,000 deal that included several accommodations, including catering for 140 guests, a DJ, games, dancers, staff and equipment for the religious ceremony.
She paid all deposits in cash and kept invoices from the transactions at the request of Grau, Page Six reports.
‘I haven’t really thought about it. I just agreed with everything, ”Granito said to Page Six.
But then Granito reportedly got a call from Grau in the second week of March, when the COVID-19 pandemic first tightened its grip on the three-state territory.
According to Page Six, Grau (pictured) and Granito agreed to a $ 40,000 deal for 140 guests, a DJ and other accommodations.
James and Elvira Grau (left to right) own Space New Jersey, a party and event planning service
‘I just had the most invitations and Elvira and [her husband and business partner] Jim called me and said, “Can you do us a big favor and give us $ 10,000? We’re going to close and we can really use the money to pay our employees. We’re stuck,” Granito Grau said.
The bar mitzvah was still 12 weeks away at the time, but lawsuits being watched by Page Six claimed Granito had been “pressured” to speed up the money because the Graus were “broke.”
“I said,” I don’t have that money. ” I had already paid $ 31,000 in cash, ”Granito said.
‘I am so stupid. They made me feel awful saying they couldn’t afford to pay their staff, so I ran over and gave Elvira’s assistant everything I had available, which was $ 2,100. “
As the pandemic continued, the two sides reportedly agreed to postpone the bar mitzvah until Oct. 23.
But as the cases skyrocketed and the death toll increased, it became clear that New York City wasn’t going to return to normal anytime soon.
So in May Granito held her son’s bar mitzvah ceremony at home with a rabbi who performed the service via Zoom call.
Granito told Page Six that Grau offered to hold the party in New Jersey, where party restrictions were mild, but she asked for a refund instead.
Court documents claimed Granito was ‘pressured’ to speed up her bar mitzvah payments because the Graus were ‘broke’ Pictured: Elvira Grau photographed with Tiffany Trump (left), as well as President Trump and Melania Trump (right)
Granito (right): ‘I want my money back and I don’t want anyone else to suffer like me’
Grau is said to have told Granito they would ‘talk later’, but the mother claimed ‘it never happened later and I haven’t heard from her since July’.
The two reportedly had a brief interaction in August, but Granito said there was “ dead silence ” afterward.
“I realized I won’t be getting my money back,” Granito told Page Six. Grau reportedly told some of Granito’s party planner friends that she no longer had the money to repay.
The lawsuit is seeking the money, as well as attorney fees and relief for her need, Page Six reports.
“You can’t take money from Peter to pay Paul,” Granito said. “I want my money back and I don’t want anyone else to suffer like me.”
Lawyer Evan Cowit, who represents the Graus family, denied the charges against Page Six.
‘My clients have made every effort to accommodate Ms. Granito. They believe that any claims she makes are groundless and will defend themselves vigorously. ‘