MIAMI—Seven men of Middle Eastern descent have sued a South Florida Denny’s restaurant franchisee and one of its managers for $28 million, saying they were kicked out because of their ancestry and compared to Osama Bin Laden.
The men, who are all U.S. citizens, are seeking $4 million each from Restaurant Collection Inc., which owns the Denny’s franchise, and shift manager Eduardo Ascano, whom they say compared them to the Al-Qaida terrorist leader.
“This was a terrible act against Arab Americans,” Alan C. Kauffman, one of the attorneys for the group, said Wednesday.
The seven men say they went to Fernandez’s restaurant in Florida City, on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 2 a.m. Jan. 11, 2004. They say they were seated, given menus and received their drink orders. But an hour later, their food hadn’t arrived. One of the men—Ehab Albaradi—approached Ascano and inquired about the group’s order, the lawsuit says.
Ascano allegedly said: “Bin Laden is the manager of the kitchen” and “Bin Laden is in charge.”
Albaradi and a second man, Usama El-A-Baidy, decided to speak to Ascano again about their order.
Angered, Ascano told the short order cooks in the kitchen to cancel the group’s order, the suit claims.
El-A-Baidy then asked Ascano why he had used the name bin Laden.
“We don’t serve bin Ladens here! You guys, out!” Ascano allegedly said.