Miami, USA, February 19, 1989
Million Awarded for Anti-Semitism
Feb. 19  (AP) -
A Jewish businessman has
been ordered to pay $5.5 million after a
court found he forced a Florida
restaurateur out of business by falsely
accusing him of anti-Semitic
The Third District Court of Appeal in
Miami said in its ruling Wednesday that
the restaurateur, Denis Rety, was
"entitled to an unprecedented compensatory
and punitive damage award so as to fit the
vicious arrogance of the defendant's
In 1986 Mr. Rety was awarded $22.5
million after a jury found that he had
been libeled and his business ruined by
the defendant, Arthur Green. When
the Circuit Court judge in the case
reduced and then vacated the award, Mr.
Marc Cooper, a lawyer who was
part of Mr. Green's defence team, said
after Wednesday's ruling, "We have not
decided yet what will be done."
Mr. Rety, the former owner of the La
Belle Epoque restaurant in Bay Harbor
Islands and the Continental Gourmet in
Hollywood, left Miami several years ago
and now raises horses in Englishtown,
The incident began in September 1982
when a customer at La Belle Epoque, who
was not involved in the lawsuit,
complained that a veal chop was too
Mr. Green, who owns the Southern
Commodity Corporation, a Miami
manufacturer of liquid sugar for
industrial use, was sitting at a nearby
table when he saw his acquaintance was
upset with his meal. The next day, Mr.
Green sent Mr. Rety a letter about the
incident, court records show.
telephoned Mr. Green in response to the
letter and the two men had a heated
exchange. Mr. Green then wrote a letter
accusing Mr. Rety of anti-Semitism and
threatening to put him out of business,
according to court records.
Mr. Green, a former vice president of
Temple Israel of Greater Miami and an
active member of the Greater Miami Jewish
Federation, never sent the letter to Mr.
Rety. He distributed it instead to several
prominent Jews in the community, including
the Mayor and Vice Mayor of Bay Harbour
Island and the president of a 1,000-member
condominium association that has many
The letter said Mr. Rety had called Mr.
Green "a rotten, stinking Jew," among
other anti-Semitic references.
Mr. Rety was admonished by the South
Florida Hotel and Motel Association, and
the Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce stopped
holding its monthly meetings at the
Court records show Mr. Rety's
restaurant business declined from $108,000
to $47,000 a month in the winter and from
$45,000 to $6,000 a month in the summer.
Within a year, Mr, Rety was forced into
The court ruling said the evidence
indicated the anti-Semitic statements
attributed to Mr. Rety were "completely