Joffrey Ballet School, ex-boss Christopher D’Addario embroiled in ugly legal fight
In an about-face so swift it would make a ballerina’s head spin, the former boss of the famed Joffrey Ballet School is allegedly threatening to bankrupt the institution.
Christopher D’Addario, who quietly resigned as executive director in March, temporarily shuttered the Greenwich Village school’s website Sept. 16, then threatened more disruptions if he wasn’t paid a hefty $450,000, the school claims in a Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit.
When a school lawyer demanded control of the website, the 45-year-old D’Addario replied in an email, “Go rightly f—k yourself … Happy to bankrupt the school in Court,” according to the lawsuit.
Before he allegedly took down JoffreyBalletSchool.com, D’Addario texted childhood friend F. Lee Merwin, who succeeded him as the school’s executive director, telling him, “Say goodbye to your website, a—hole,” the school charges in the litigation.
The school was founded by Robert Joffrey and his partner, Gerald Arpino, who also launched the Joffrey Ballet and worked with dance legends Rudolf Nureyev and Twyla Tharp.
On Sept. 16, the school posted to its social media about “technical difficulties” with its website.
D’Addario, whose grandmother Edith and mother Gail worked for the school since the 1960s, denied the allegations.
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