John Catsimatidis is the billionaire owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain. He was also seriously considering a bid for mayor, at least when it looked like he wouldn't have to go head-to-head with Michael Bloomberg. Oh, how Catsimatidis's fortunes have changed since then. In September, a federal judge ruled that his company had violated federal and state laws by failing to pay overtime to hundreds of supermarket employees. Then Bloomberg successfully pushed for a change in term limit laws, which cleared the way for him to run for a third term and also foiled Catsimatidis' plan to be New York's second billionaire mayor. And now he suffered yet another embarrassing legal defeat.
A judge ruled yesterday that Gristedes cannot call its new supermarket on 14th Street "Trader John's" since, well, some people might confuse it with Trader Joe's, especially since it's three blocks away and Catsimatidis copied everything down to Trader John's distinctive red sign. Apparently Catsimatidis' defense—that he's named John and his career has occasionally involved "trading"—wasn't quite enough to sway the judge. And so he'll have to come up with a new name. Rest assured, though, that if the new name includes the words "Whole" and "Foods," we'll be hearing about it soon enough.