Teachers union bigs tossed from Albany eatery as rep Paul Egan wonders: Where's the beef?
Paul Egan, the union's political and legislative director, set off the fracas - claiming the quail he was served, and finished, wasn't large enough - sources said.
Egan and about two dozen other members of the United Federation of Teachers spread over three tables at the swank bistro Marché inside 74 State, a boutique hotel down the block from the state Capitol.
And with Egan apparently worked into a froth over the size of his quail in the $40 prix fixe meal, union members looked on without paying the group's bill.
Egan began shouting and demanded to see the manager. The restaurant's owner soon appeared, and pleaded with Egan to calm down, sources said.
When he didn't, restaurant staffers called the cops.
Two officers were dispatched to handle a man who was "yelling and refusing to leave," Albany Detective James Miller said.
"There was a dispute over the bill," Miller said. "They were refusing to pay."
Miller said members of the party-hearty crew identified themselves to cops as union reps, and he noted Egan "was pretty irate and agitated."
To hustle the scene-makers out of the dining room, restaurant managers reduced the bill for the group's prix fixe dinners, Miller said.
Officers told Egan the dispute was a civil matter and ordered him to pay the bill - to which he followed up by asking if he was required to leave a tip, sources said.
"It was explained he needed to pay the bill and leave because he and the group were causing a disturbance," Miller said.
With the tab finally tallied, cops told the union honchos to hit the road.
"They all had to stand up and walk out the door with the cops behind them," one source said. "It was mortifying. It was like they had to slink out the door."
Police made no arrests, nor did they file an official report about the incident.
Egan could not be reached yesterday and a union spokesman said they are looking into the matter. The restaurant also stayed mum about the fireworks.
Union officials and district leaders were in Albany to testify yesterday before a legislative budget committee - and to lobby lawmakers.
UFT boss Michael Mulgrew told The News he was not at the dinner and said he was unaware of the incident.
"I have to go look into it, because I have no idea what you're presenting me with here," he said.
A source with ties to the union said it's not the first time Egan has been kicked out of a restaurant after making a scene.
"He's done this more than once, though he never got escorted out by the police before that I know of," the source said.
The source recounted Egan loudly complaining during a Christmas-time lunch that he didn't get enough meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
In the end, Egan was bounced from the city eatery but not before the owner tore up his check, the source said.