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Supermarket King’s Threat: Aisle Shut Chain

NY Post - Bruce Golding

This billionaire is crying poverty.

Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis has threatened to shutter the supermarket chain if he can’t renegotiate terms of a $3.5 million wage settlement with his workers.

The once -- and possibly future -- mayoral hopeful recently told a judge that “Gristedes is suffering” due to the weak economy and last year’s bankruptcy of grocery giant A&P and its Food Emporium chain.

The fate of his rivals “affected all our vendors,” Catsimatidis said, prompting a “squeeze play” for payments that dried up the company’s credit last spring.

And while “our banks have given us some relief,” Catsimatidis insisted he needs more time to make good on about $2 million still owed to about 300 employees who sued him in 2004 for unpaid wages and overtime.

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Manhattan federal Judge Paul Crotty, however, noted that terms of last year’s settlement were binding and said he wouldn’t “strike a bargain” for the supermarket magnate.