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Dallas restaurateur wanted in Colorado for harassment, disorderly conduct

Vandelay Hospitality Group CEO Hunter Pond is wanted in San Miguel County.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY, Colo. — A warrant has been issued in Colorado for a Dallas restaurateur accused of alleged harassment and disorderly conduct. 

The warrant was filed for William Hunter Pond, the 36-year-old founder and CEO of Vandelay Hospitality Group. The San Miguel County Sheriff's Office said Pond is wanted for harassment - strike/shove/kick, and disorderly conduct - offensive gesture. 

Jason Friedman, Pond's attorney, said in a statement to WFAA that Pond was in Telluride, Colorado last October with his family for a wedding. After the wedding, Friedman said Pond was walking with his family back to their hotel when a woman apparently driving over the speed limit veered towards Pond, coming within 2 feet of his family, and did not stop to see if anyone was injured. 

At their hotel after that, Friedman said Pond saw the same woman stopping in front of the hotel. He voiced his displeasure with her actions, Friedman said, and afterwards went to sleep in his hotel room and left Colorado the next day. 

"He was not issued a ticket nor did the police search for Mr. Pond to interview him about the incident," Friedman wrote. "Mr. Pond was not aware that the reckless driver filed a misdemeanor complaint about his interaction with her after she nearly hit his kids."

Pond filed a lawsuit against the woman for assault and negligence, Friedman said, and expects to be vindicated. A copy of the suit shows it was filed in Dallas County.

The suit filed states Pond walked up to the woman, knocked on her window and demanded an explanation for her recklessness. 

"Unfortunately, Defendant was extremely flippant about it and, like many millennials, did not want to take responsibility for her own actions," the suit stated.

Vandelay Hospitality Group has multiple restaurants open around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, with more planned to open in Houston and Beverly Hills, California. Brands under the group include Hudson House, Drake's Hollywood, D.L. Mack's, East Hampton Sandwich Co. and Brentwood. 

Pond's restaurant group has faced scrutiny in recent years with lawsuits filed against it for allegedly turning away Black guests and discrimination against staffers. 

According to the Dallas Morning News, two former Vandelay Hospitality Group employees filed two lawsuits against the group accusing them of firing employees who are Black, Latino or "ugly." 

Other employees at Drake's Hollywood told the Dallas Morning News at the time that staff was encouraged to turn away customers not exuding wealth, with some saying the restaurant used a dress code to keep out the "riffraff." 

Pond at the time denied any of the claims being true, calling them "ridiculous," according to the Dallas Morning News. 

In 2015, Pond, was featured on Forbes' "30 Under 30" restaurant owners. 

Joshua Bonee, the executive chief and equity partner at one of the group's restaurants, Lucky's Hot Chicken, left the restaurant in November 2020, citing a toxic company culture, the News reported. 

Police are asking anyone who may have information leading to Pond's arrest to call the San Miguel Sheriff's office at 970-728-1911. 

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