Sam Mustaca ready to fight charges after allegedly assaulting Wahlburger employee at Mark Wahlberg joint
A multi-millionaire Sydney boss who runs Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg’s burger chain in Australia is set to fight charges of assaulting an employee because he claims to be the real victim of the alleged incident.
Sam Mustaca, 42, owns the Australian partnership in the Wahlburgers franchise alongside his 80-year-old Calabrian-born father Roy, and also owns and operates the United Cinemas chain in Sydney.
But the successful businessman and the Wahlburgers are now at the center of a publicity disaster after being charged with common assault.
Mustaca pleaded not guilty to allegedly attacking Jaun-Paul Kalman, 41, during his shift at the joint burger joint’s Circular Quay store in March when he faced Downing Center Local Court in November.
Mr Kalman was employed as a bar manager for the restaurant when it opened its first store in Sydney in February, near the cinema in Mustaca’s Opera Quay.
Sam Mustaca, 42 (pictured with his wife) has been charged with assaulting a Wahlburgers employee
Pictured: The Wahlburger franchise at Opera Quay, where Mr Kalman was employed for around six weeks from February to March this year
Mustaca and his father Roy signed a $50 million licensing deal with the Wahlbergs to open their channel in Australia. Pictured: Mark Wahlberg
It will be alleged that Mustaca injured Mr Kalman’s wrist during an argument at a salary meeting.
But a spokesperson claimed Mustaca was in fact the one attacked in the incident and the businessman would “vigorously” defend the charge.
“Sam Mustaca met with a male employee to address serious issues relating to his behavior towards other staff members in the presence of customers and issues of poor job performance,” the spokesperson said.
“During this meeting, the man [allegedly] assaulted Sam Mustaca who then required medical attention.
“The man’s employment was subsequently terminated and he was asked to leave the premises immediately. Following the incident, the police were called and the former employee was arrested nearby.
“As the matter is before the court, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
Jaun-Paul Kalman (pictured) was allegedly assaulted by his former boss
Mr Kalman confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that he was initially questioned and arrested by police but released.
Mustaca was charged in October following further police investigations.
Mr Kalman also confirmed that he was charged with possessing a knife in public, which he said was for his bonsai hobby and was in his backpack at the time.
This case was treated by the court as a technical offense without any convictions having been recorded.
The father-of-two said he is now living on workers’ compensation due to injuries allegedly sustained in the incident.
The Mustaca family is well known among Australia’s elite, patriarch Roy having established himself on the national commercial scene when he founded United Cinemas in 1986.
Roy – known as ‘Rocco’ – is a renowned singer and songwriter who started his career in the entertainment industry at the age of eight before opening 10 cinemas in Sydney and Melbourne.
Famous for his Elvis-style hair and shimmering metallic stage outfits, Roy still performs regularly, with one of his hits – ‘God Kill The Coronavirus’ – previously playing during pre-show advertising in his theaters .
His son is no stranger to the spotlight either, with Mustaca already making headlines in March last year over a legal battle between his property development company and residents over a roof that flees to the Bellagio apartments.
Mustaca is flaunting his luxury life online – sharing photos of himself spending time with his family at lavish official events, posing against sports cars and mingling with celebrities.
Footage scattered across his social media shows him hanging out with famous Australians, including presenter Richard Wilkins and radio personalities Kyle Sandilands and Bruno Bouchet.
But behind the scenes, insiders say the Wahlberg-Mustaca operation isn’t going well – despite launching with glowing publicity earlier this year.
Sources told Daily Mail Australia the company had experienced high staff turnover.
There are currently three outlets in Australia – Byron Bay, Sydney and the Gold Coast – and the chain is expected to eventually have 20 stores in total across the country, including branches in Perth and Brisbane.
In October, as the company opened its new store in Surfers Paradise, Mark Wahlberg made a video praising the Mustacas for their efforts.
“A small thank you to our team in Australia, the Mustaca family, our third location is now open,” said the Mile 22 actor.
‘Thank you guys and congratulations. Much more to come. From the Wahlberg family to yours – God bless you.