New York Post Interviews the ‘Vegan Bernie Madoff’

From celebrity clients to non-vegan cellmates.

PureFoodWineLasagnaIf you catch up to just one bit of New York-tastic smartphone barbecue reading this holiday Monday, let it be “The Downfall of NYC’s Hottest Vegan.”

That was the headline for a recent New York Post item by Dana Schuster and Georgett Roberts. The centerpiece of the article is a Rikers Island conversation with Sarma MeLngailis, the former doyenne of Gramercy Park vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine:

“It’s the worst nightmare you can think of,” Melngailis revealed to The Post in an exclusive jailhouse interview Saturday morning at Rikers. “If I had terminal cancer, it would be better than this, because at least [then] I did not cause it.”

For the past 10 months, Melngailis and [husband Anthony] Strangis had been on the lam after allegedly stealing nearly $2 million from her trendy “raw organic” restaurant — blowing $1.2 million at Connecticut casinos. The 43-year-old restaurateur and Strangis, 35, were arrested last week at a $99-a-night Fairfield Inn & Suites in Sevierville, Tenn., after a delivery of unorganic Domino’s outed them.

MeLngailis has been derided by an attorney representing a group of former Pure employees as “the vegan Bernie Madoff.” An equally colorful quote comes from a law enforcement authority who helped capture the fugitive couple:

Sevierville Detective Kevin Bush tells The Post: “I have excellent intelligence that [Strangis] ordered the pizza and wings.”

The couple will be arraigned shortly. They face 24 counts of theft, labor fraud and tax crimes.

Image via: Yelp