West Hawaii Today Picks Up Sam Choy Story – Pearl Harbor Restaurant Sends Me Cease and Desist Letter

A few days ago I posted about the Pearl Harbor restaurant using well known Celebrity Chef Sam Choy’s name without paying him royalties.

On the front page of today’s West Hawaii Today, they followed up with my post with this article where they state:

Click to read article

Click to read article

…Choy’s verified Facebook account, identified by a blue check mark next to the name, defended the claims in the blog post, saying he has “never to this day received any form of royalty (from) you.”

On his own page, the chef posted Thursday that, “to the best of (his) knowledge, (he has) not signed any documents indicating a ‘royalty free’ use of my name to anyone!”

The restaurant replied to that post with the open letter, to which Choy responded “Please produce a such a document with my signature on it and I will never bother you again. Mahalo.”

Choy told West Hawaii Today he’s retained legal counsel to force Sam Choy’s Island Style Seafood Grille to drop the “Sam Choy” from the name.

Vandeman, meanwhile, said he’s pursuing legal action against Tucker for his blog post.

“We’re gonna file for a substantial amount of damages,” he said. “Because of the nature of what he said and how he said it and how widely he published it.”

You can read the full West Hawaii Today article here: Choy disputes Oahu restaurants name use

Here is a Cease and Desist email request I received from the restaurant owner asking me to remove the blog post on August 30th at 12:46pm

Mr. Tucker,

We hereby demand that you cease and desist immediately publishing any statement to the effect that we are using Sam Choy’s name without permission.
We have seen that you have posted on the internet a per se defamatory statement that Sam Choy’s Island Style Seafood Grille is using Sam Choy’s name without permission. This statement is false. No matter how few the number of people who read your website, this statement is sufficient to establish substantial damages against you. 
The fact that you sent a spam email to me on this question is irrelevant. The fact that I didn’t respond to a spam email, and that you had no reason to even ask the question is irrelevant. You have absolutely NO BASIS TO MAKE THIS CLAIM. 
As Sam Choy himself well knows, as Sam’s current attorney David Smith well knows, and as Sam’s prior legal counsel well knows (and has acknowledged), Restaurants Hawaii, LLC has the fully documented legal right to use Sam’s name on our restaurant. In fact, on more that one occasion I have invited Sam’s attorney, Mr. Smith, to show me any documents which establish that we do not have that right, and he has failed and refused to do so. The reason is that he cannot do so. Neither he nor Sam have any such documents. 
If you do not cease and desist immediately, as specified above, we will retain legal counsel to sue you for damages for intentional defamation. 
George A. Vandeman
Managing Member
Restaurants Hawaii, LLC

4 Responses

  1. Why would a restaurant want to purposely mislead their customers to think that a celebrity Chef is involved other than a money grab. If Sam Choy isn’t involved then get his name off the building! Vandeman is counting on Hawaii’s ignorance and should be ashamed.

  2. So, let Mr. Choy sue the restaurant for using his name without permission. Maybe he can sue for court costs also.
    I’d tell the restaurant to pound sand.

  3. They have that backwards… They have to produce a document that indicated the HAVE the right to use the name.

    • Lol I saw that, too. Why would they have to produce something to him to prove that they don’t have that right? They are the ones using the name and if they claim they have the right to use it, they need to produce that documentation. It sounds shady if they didn’t do so already because it would have settled it once and for all. That is, if it isn’t falsified, forged, or so forth. I don’t see why they would put his name is on the resteraunt anyway if he is not affiliated with it (aside from wanting to make money off of it).

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