The Return of the Prodigal Playboy

It looks like America-hating, tax-cheating, model-banging Italian restaurateur Giuseppe Cipriani is mounting a reinvasion of New York City after spending a year in exile in the wake of his family's spectacular meltdown.

The New York Post professes surprise at the sight of the "dashing restaurateur" at his restaurant Harry Cipriani last night—Giuseppe has been living in Uruguay, Abu Dhabi, and London since pleading guilty to tax evasion in 2007 and paying a $10 million settlement, and was rumored to be on the lam from unspecified further charges. But seeing as how his reemergence happens to coincide with a December Vanity Fair profile rehashing of his multiple legal and financial difficulties and promising a dramatic return to our fair shores, we sense a whiff of coordination here.

The Post says Cipriani—whose family owns Harry Cipriani, Cipriani Wall Street, the Cipriani Club Residences, and a bunch of other places where publicists tell their clients to go—could face deportation given his lack of citizenship and tax conviction, but that he's working out a deal with the feds to stay for the long haul. Which means he's likely returned to try to restore his family's good name after a decade or so of disastrous behavior by nightclubbing with Tara Reid. That will surely erase the memory of his prosecution for sex discrimination in hiring at his restaurants (brought by Eliot Spitzer!), allegations that he employed mob fixers off the books, claims that he held on to his liquor licenses through corruption, the loss of the lease on the Rainbow Room after he couldn't afford the rent, and multiple lawsuits for nonpayment of loans.

Or it could just be that Obama magic: Cipriani told Vanity Fair that his troubles were all George W. Bush's fault, and that "America has always been a country of dreams, and it became a country of hate." Now that Bush is out and the dreams are back, he wants in on it.