Top Chef Star in Dire Straits?

The reality-show contestant Timothy Dean is facing the foreclosure of his Baltimore steakhouse.

Timothy Dean is in big trouble—or maybe not?. Photograph courtesy of Bravo TV.

Times are trying for Timothy Dean, the Baltimore-based chef who recently got the boot from Bravo reality show Top Chef. Yesterday, the Baltimore Sun reported conflicting accounts as to whether Prime, his Fells Point steakhouse, would be sold at auction.

Jonathan Melnick Auctioneers advertised on its Web site that the restaurant, which is spread across three buildings, would be sold at a bank-foreclosure auction in September.

It’s the latest in a slew of legal crises that have dogged Dean in past months. Back in May, Dean’s T.D. Bistro Inc., which owned the since-closed TD Lounge, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Less than two months later, Dean was back in court, this time filing an $8 million suit against Prince George’s County’s National Harbor for allegedly reneging on a plan to help finance a bistro and jazz lounge.

When reached by phone, Dean said the sale of Prime will be blocked by his bankruptcy filing last spring and that the steakhouse was never in danger of closing. The value of the property went down, he says, and Adams National Bank, which holds the mortgage, determined it legally had to put the property up for auction. It’s a position Dean says will be reversed come Monday, when he meets with the bank’s lawyers.

The Baltimore Sun articles, Dean contends, have jumped the gun: “They’re looking for something, but there’s nothing much there.”

Dean remains optimistic that his attention from Top Chef will refuel his businesses. Two more properties, one in Largo and another in Washington—he wouldn’t go into more detail—are in the works. “We’re moving forward,” said Dean. “I’m expanding.”

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