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Restaurant group negotiating to buy out Mario Batali

UPDATED: Mon., May 21, 2018

In this Wednesday, April 19, 2017 photo, chef Mario Batali attends an awards event in New York. (Brent N. Clarke / Associated Press)
In this Wednesday, April 19, 2017 photo, chef Mario Batali attends an awards event in New York. (Brent N. Clarke / Associated Press)
From wire reports

NEW YORK – The restaurant group co-owned by Mario Batali says it has been “actively negotiating” to buy out the celebrity chef facing sexual misconduct allegations.

The B&B Hospitality Group said Batali and partner Joe Bastianich have signed a letter of intent and final terms could be set by July 1.

The New York Police Department confirmed it’s investigating Batali after a woman told “60 Minutes” that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2005.

Batali denies assaulting the woman.

B&B says it had been unaware of what it calls the “chilling” and “deeply disturbing” allegations.

Batali stepped down from daily operations at his restaurant empire and cooking show in December after four women accused him of inappropriate touching.

He’s apologized for those encounters.

Batali’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

On the“60 Minutes” segment, the unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in the famous Spotted Pig in the New York’s West Village.

The woman told Anderson Cooper she met Batali, now 57, at a party at the Spotted Pig in 2005 and joined him for a glass of wine.

That’s the last she remembers.

“It gets completely foggy for me. And this is – part of the messy, scary part for me, there is a part where it – it all disappears. I remember a moment where I was on his lap, kissing him. Like, he was kissing me. And then I remember throwing up – in a toilet. And that is all,” the woman said.

“I woke up by myself on the floor, I don’t know where I am, of an empty room, wooden floor. I see broken bottles. The first thing I think is, ‘I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been. I’ve been assaulted.’”

The woman told Cooper that she confronted Batali after the alleged assault.

“I asked him. ‘What, what happened last night?’ And he just was silent, wouldn’t talk to me,” she said.

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