Jose Lambiet

Ex-Dolphin sues VH1 star over Miami nail salon venture

The lawsuit says Michelle Pooch, whose real name is Michelle Janco, allegedly used former Miami Dolphins tackle Branden Albert’s seed funds for things like her salary and a chauffeured car.
The lawsuit says Michelle Pooch, whose real name is Michelle Janco, allegedly used former Miami Dolphins tackle Branden Albert’s seed funds for things like her salary and a chauffeured car. Via Instagram

Michelle Pooch, star of VH1’s "Love & Hip Hop Miami," is being sued by former Miami Dolphins tackle Branden Albert.

According to the paperwork, Albert poured money into Pooch’s new business, a nail salon that also serves cocktails to the tunes of a live DJ, and he is not happy about how it’s turning out.

Albert says he invested $230,000 into Pooch’s venture, but now he wants his money back.

The business model sounded like a great one, according to Albert’s complaint filed this week in Miami-Dade County circuit court.

Pooch, 37, a successful DJ whose presence on reality TV came from her reputation as “Miami’s queen of nightlife,” and boyfriend Jason Cuza were planning to open a slew of nail salons where patrons could get cocktails made from Remy Martin Cognac, as well as house music from a live DJ.

The name: Get Nailed.

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Branden Albert

But with one of the salons recently opened in Wynwood and another in the works for later this year in Miami Beach, the 33-year-old Albert no longer believes in it.

According to the lawsuit, Pooch, whose real name is Michelle Janco, allegedly used Albert’s seed funds for things like her salary and a chauffeured car.

“The bottom line is these people (Pooch and Cuza) took advantage of my client’s naivete,” said Michael Schlesinger, the baller’s attorney. “They were all friends. The papers were not even drawn properly. Pooch filed incorporation papers after they got Mr. Albert’s money, and he is not in any ownership papers.”

Worse, said Schlesinger, Pooch and Cuza never gave Albert a business plan and profitability estimates.

According to the lawsuit, Albert thought his investment would buy him 60 percent of the nascent company and he would be entitled to profits and consulted on major business decisions.

Instead, Albert found out his name is nowhere to be found on incorporation papers, and his investment only paid for just one of the chain’s locations, not the entire company.

When reached on her cellphone, Pooch hung up when told she had been sued.

Carlos Santisteban, her lawyer, said he hasn’t seen the lawsuit.

The estranged wife of high-profile Miami Beach nightlife impresario Tommy Puccio, whose nickname she kept when they separated, raven-haired DJ Michelle has been entrenched in the local nightscape for two decades.

The mom of one also starred alongside singers Trina and Trick Daddy on "Love & Hip Hop Miami," which got nearly two million viewers per episode during a three-month run in winter.

It’s little surprise, meanwhile, that Albert claims Pooch took advantage of him.

During his high school and college playing days at the University of Virginia, Albert was famous for his academic problems that saw him redo the ninth grade three times.

Still, Albert is believed to have made upward of $60 million in his eight-year NFL career, including $47 million for five years with the Dolphins.

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