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Fried Chicken, With The Spice of Scandal

The neighborhood is getting a new fried chicken joint, and this one has a colorful past that goes far beyond secret recipes. Pudgie’s Famous Chicken, which EV Grieve noted is replacing the shuttered King Gyro on First Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets, was once run by a former chairman of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce who was accused of embezzlement. The New York Post reported in August of last year that Jeffrey Bernstein abruptly resigned his post at the Chamber after he was accused of embezzling more than $2.3 million from the non-profit Albert Ellis Institute while serving as its president. In an article from 2003 in Chain Leader, a magazine for restaurant executives, Mr. Bernstein was described as a “turnaround artist” who bought the troubled Pudgie’s chain and made it profitable.