Anthony Strangis Addresses Bad Vegan Docuseries and Sarma Melngailis' Accusations

In an exclusive statement to E! News, Anthony Strangis' lawyer said that his client has put the Bad Vegan controversy "behind him."

By Cydney Contreras Mar 21, 2022 7:48 PMTags
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Sarma Melngailis told her side of the story in Netflix's Bad Vegan and now Anthony Strangis is sharing his.

In an exclusive statement to E! News, Strangis' attorney, Sam Karliner, talked about the Netflix docuseries and his client's connection to the celebrity chef, revealing that the exes are "not in touch."

"He's gone on to live his life," Karliner shared. "He's got a job, uses his name, this is behind him and she's behind him."

Bad Vegan, which premiered on March 16, chronicles Melngailis' time as owner of NYC vegan hot spot Pure Food and Wine, and her subsequent marriage to Strangis, who she accuses of exercising "coercive control" over her and making promises including that he could make her beloved dog, Leon, immortal. The two were ultimately arrested in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. in May 2016.

The fact that Strangis has moved on is part of the reason he "didn't want to get involved," according to Karliner. "He pled guilty to it, he owned up to it and he did it long before Sarma did," the lawyer continued. "His case was resolved probably close to a year before Sarma's was."

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The New York Post reported that Strangis agreed to a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to four counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree and sentenced to five years probation in March 2017. That was two months before Melngailis agreed to plead guilty to charges of grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and a scheme to defraud in exchange for five years' probation and four months in prison.

Karliner noted that Strangis' silence isn't indicative of a lack of regret, saying, "Anthony is remorseful for the people at the restaurant that lost money and he took full responsibility for his part in that." 


According to Karliner, Strangis was "aware" that the money he and Melngailis used to fund their lavish lifestyle was obtained illegally and "willingly spent," but added, "Was it Anthony's intention to hurt somebody, the employees and them losing their money? No, he didn't go out to hurt them."

E! News reached out to Melngailis, who had no comment.

The vegan chef previously shared in a blog post that she didn't "voluntarily" leave New York City with Strangis in 2016 amid a police investigation. "I didn't know what funds Anthony had at the time, and I no longer had access to my electronic devices and email/text accounts," she said. "I can already hear the troll chorus of Yeah right! but most of what I say is verifiable."


As for Melngailis' claims that Strangis mislead her about who he was, Karliner defended his client, saying, "Anthony had a past. He hid it from her initially—no one likes to come right out and say, Hey, I got a criminal past."

Moreover, Karliner insists that Strangis "really cared" about Melngailis, who filed for divorce in May 2018. 

Bad Vegan is streaming now on Netflix.

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