Giordano's Owner Alleges Plot Against Business

The owner of the Giordano’s pizza chain filed a lawsuit of more than $100 million against several franchisees, his bankers and his former lawyers on August 4, 2011, claiming that they had a long-running plot to put him out of business, according to the Chicago Tribune. The pizza chain filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

Owner John Apostolou filed a 72-page lawsuit on in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, defamation and conspiracy to defraud, among other things, according to the Tribune. The chain's operations were turned over to a bankruptcy trustee in May after Apostolou fired his attorney and worries arose about whether the company’s assets were being protected. Apostolou no longer runs the chain and is banned from the premises.

The lawsuit claims that Allen Aynessazian, chief financial officer for Giordano’s, and James Roche, a lawyer for both the company and Apostolou, enlisted Fifth Third Bank, Giordano’s chief lender, as well as Chicago lawyer Michael Gesas  and several  Giordano’s franchisees “to participate in the scheme” in which they’d push the Apostolous out and take over the company.

In 2009, Apostolou had expanded the business to 48 locations with annual sales of $168 million after originally buying the chain in 1988.

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