The long-time business partner of celebrity chef George Calombaris has revealed he is stepping down from his post, just months after it was revealed that the restaurant empire had underpaid its employees by $2.6 million.
In a letter to staff obtained by The Age, George Sykiotis announced he was ceasing full-time employment with MAdE Establishment in order to spend more time with his loved ones.
“The reason for this change is that my family, who have sacrificed so much for me over these years and have been such a great support, require more of me and it’s now my time to give back,” he explained in the note, which was addressed to restaurants The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic.
The businessman also paid tribute to Calombaris, crediting him as “one of the greatest people I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with.”
Sykiotis will reportedly keep his financial stake in the business while taking on a consultative role. He currently owns a third of the organisation, alongside the Masterchef judge and MAdE’s chairman and financial baker, Radel Sali.
The news comes amidst claims that Sykiotis’ relationship with Sali had become strained since after an internal audit of payroll discrepancies became public in April.
A source close to the restaurateur told The Sydney Morning Herald that his position had since been “untenable.”
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