NYC’s Friars Club sues Michael Gyure for embezzlement


The former head of the Friars Club allegedly bilked the famed institution of nearly $1 million and embezzled “on a continuing basis,” according to a lawsuit.

The historic club, which used to be overseen by talk show legend Larry King and where Henny Youngman, Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra would hold court, was shut for more than a year by a flood and the coronavirus pandemic. It reopened last year.

Michael Gyure, 54, allegedly secretly owned an entertainment company while leading the Friars Club and signed over the right to the use the Friars name “in perpetuity” to that business without the club’s knowledge or permission, the club claims in its Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

The company Gyure owned never forked over the $150,000 fee to use the name, and after Gyure’s business lost more than $616,000 on a January 2015 event, he used Friars’ funds to cover the loss, according to court papers.

Michael Gyure allegedly swindled the Friars Club of nearly $1 million.
Michael Gyure allegedly swindled the Friars Club of nearly $1 million.
WireImage

“During Michael Gyure’s tenure, this century-old institution experienced its near death and dismemberment principally grounded in and fostered by his malfeasance, manipulation, mismanagement and greed,” the club charges in the litigation. “Not only did he breach his employment obligations and his fiduciary duty but he orchestrated and committed fraud and embezzlement on a continuing basis throughout his tenure.”

The Friars are demanding $2.3 million in damages.

The Friars Club stuck with Gyure through thick and thin: years of financial trouble; a 2017 raid of its 55th Street clubhouse by the FBI; and even gave him a new contract after his 2019 guilty plea for filing false tax returns and failing to disclose $433,000 in income.

Michael Gyure -- here with Barbra Streisand -- left the Friars Club in 2020.
Michael Gyure — here with Barbra Streisand — left the Friars Club in 2020.
Kevin Mazur

The “beloved” Gyure quietly left the club in 2020, the Friars said in a fawning announcement at the time, ostensibly because of the struggling club’s “inability to fulfill the terms of his contract.”

Gyure did not return a message seeking comment.



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