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Lady Gaga's father tweeted on Friday that his New York City restaurant would be closed for the next month amid the coronavirus outbreak and asked for help in raising money to pay his furloughed staff.
“I'm doing the best I can but we had to close Joanne for the month," the tweet read. "Our staff needs some help financial. Any help for our employees will be appreciated.”
The post was linked to a crowdsourcing page asking for donations for the staff as the restaurant "has had to lay off almost 30 employees until we are able to reopen our doors," the page said.
Germanotta owns Joanne Trattoria, an Italian restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, which has seen a 70 percent decrease in business since Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all bars and restaurants to close except for takeout, Germanotta told Fox Business last week.
Come Saturday, however, Germanotta's Twitter account had been deactivated and all tweets had been erased. The pop star's father told Fox News the tweet did come from his account but he stressed he never authorized it.
Germanotta says he is now trying to get in touch with the funding page to return the money to those who contributed. If not, he still plans to make sure the money goes into the right hands.
"I don't write my own tweets for the restaurant," Germanotta told Fox News. "Everything has been deactivated. There was a small amount of money that was donated. If the crowdsourcing page is able to return the money then that will happen. If they cannot, then I will double the money and pay it out to the staff."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last Sunday issued a statewide order, urging residents to stay home except for work and to buy essentials.
"These kids have been with me for eight years ... they're kind of like my children at this point," Germanotta told Fox Business. "I intend to keep them on some type of stipend to keep them going."
Germanotta also owns Art Bird & Whiskey Bar, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is moving to evict from Grand Central Terminal, accusing Germanotta of refusing to pay rent.
He said his business has been hurt by subpar health conditions inside the terminal.
"The bathrooms are truly less than what you'd expect in a food concourse,” he told Fox Business. “It's continually dirty. They don't clean up. There are some pest control problems down there."
Fox Business' Angelica Stabile contributed to this report.