WAITER'S CREDIT 'SCAM' VS. STAR
By JAMIE SCHRAM, SAMUEL GOLDSMITH and DAN MANGAN
September 28, 2007 -- A waiter at an Upper West Side restaurant is singing the blues after being busted for scamming famed saxophonist David Sanborn out of $15,000 in bogus credit-card charges, The Post has learned.
Darin Blackburn was nabbed Tuesday morning by cops as he was loading a U-Haul for a move out of town, authorities said. He is being held in lieu of $5,000 bail on charges of grand larceny and possession of stolen property.
Blackburn, 38, was fired earlier this month by Nick & Toni's Cafe on West 67th Street after management discovered his scheme, authorities said. The waiter allegedly pocketed cash from other customers, whose tabs he then charged to Sanborn's American Express card, which is on file there.
Sanborn, 62, is a Grammy Award-winner considered by some to be the most influential saxophonist on pop and R&B records in recent decades. His prolific career includes performing with Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and David Bowie, whose 1975 hit "Young Americans" features a signature Sanborn solo.
Sanborn lives nearby and is a regular at Nick & Toni's. From Jan. 1 to Sept. 14, $23,256.20 was placed on Sanborn's AmEx account at the restaurant, according to authorities. Sanborn eventually learned he was being charged well beyond his actual bills, and contacted Nick & Toni's manager, William Baraket.
Both men agreed Sanborn was responsible for just $7,768.86 of the charges.
When Baraket confronted Blackburn, the waiter broke down, confessed and promised to repay the money, authorities said.
Sanborn's manager, Patrick Rains, yesterday said the sax player had no comment.
An employee at Nick & Toni's said Sanborn is "still a regular customer. and there's no hard feelings. Everything was resolved between Mr. Sanborn and his credit-card company."