An embattled Nob Hill restaurant owner, swirled in speculation about why his restaurant shuttered, is now speaking out about what happened.
“That business, it doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to us…It went down kicking and screaming,” says Steve Paternoster.
In mid-December, Scalo Northern Italian Grill posted to Facebook it was closed due to a water leak. To this day, it’s still closed.
“The water pipe was definitely a nail in the coffin, but there were tax troubles as well,” he says.
Now, owner Steve Paternoster admits to KRQE News 13, the water leak wasn’t the only problem.
A letter from the building’s landlord claims Paternoster and his wife, Scalo co-owner Jane Fertig, missed $84,000 in rent.
Paternoster had a reason for that.
“The thing that may have sunk my business was getting into a building that was in pitiful repair,” he says.
We also know Fertig requested for sole ownership of Scalo.
In court documents, she blamed him for the restaurant’s decline, claiming he took money from the business and caused scenes in front of employees and customers.
“Did I cause a scene in the restaurant? Twice, and I’ll tell you exactly why. I wasn’t getting a paycheck. I’m broke. I didn’t have any other source of income,” he says.
She also claimed Paternoster is a drug addict.
“Do you have a drug problem?” KRQE News 13’s Jeannie Nguyen asked.
“No, and I’m glad you asked,” he responded.
He did admit to a past drinking problem and behavioral health issues, which he says he sought help for.
Earlier this month, a judge granted Fertig that temporary sole ownership of Scalo.
“What Jane’s doing is an absolutely heroic thing. I stand all the way behind her,” he says.
He also expressed remorse for what happened to his beloved establishment.
“I never planned this for Scalo. We went through a period of time that was difficult for us and maybe I didn’t handle it very well,” he says.
As for his employees, Paternoster says they didn’t deserve to go through this and miss paychecks. He claims he’ll pay them back very soon.
Paternoster says Scalo will re-open roughly around Feb. 8.