Charlie Trotter sued over alleged 'phony' wine sold for $46K

[FILE] In this Tuesday Aug. 28, 2012 photo, award-winning chef Charlie Trotter, right, listens as his staff delivers a pre-dinner briefing at his restaurant in Chicago as his wife, Rochelle, looks on. Trotter is closing his iconic restaurant after 25 years to return to college and study philosophy. The final service at Charlie Trotter's is Thursday evening Aug. 30, followed by a sold-out meal prepared by some of the city's top chefs on Friday. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

June 14, 2013 4:11:43 AM PDT
Chicago chef Charlie Trotter is being sued by two wine collectors for allegedly selling them a phony -- and expensive -- bottle of wine.

Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj, two wine collectors from New York, claim they paid Trotter $46,227.40 for a fake bottle of 1945 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

In June 2012, Bekim contacted Trotter's Lincoln Park restaurant about purchasing a bottle of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. On June 15, Bekim and Ilir travelled to Chicago to negotiate a price over dinner at Trotter's restaurant, according to court documents.

While at dinner, Trotter and the restaurant's wine expert explained to the two the rarity and value of the wine, and they agreed on the price. Bekim and Ilir paid $40,000 in cash and the remaining $6,227.40 by credit card, court records show. Two days later, the wine was shipped to New York.

Once he received the wine, Bekim contact his insurance carrier and asked to add the wine to his home insurance policy. The insurer advised him that Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is often counterfeited and in order to add the wine to his policy, an expert would need to authenticate it.

Three months later, a wine appraisal and management firm in San Francisco concluded that the bottle was indeed fake and, therefore, worthless.

Trotter and his restaurant company are accused of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, breach of contract, breach of warranty, and revocation of acceptance.

Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj are seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

©Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC