• 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.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

  • Jackson Hewitt Wins Approval from Court to Exit Bankruptcy

    Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. received court approval for their reorganization plan on August 8, 2011, which the company hopes will allow for its exit from bankruptcy before the week is over.

    U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath confirmed the Chapter 11 restructuring plan for Jackson Hewitt in Wilmington, Delaware. The company is the nation’s second largest tax preparer. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in May, 2011.

    The company has a total of $357 million in outstanding debt that they owe to lenders. Jackson Hewitt is offering ownership of the company and a $100 million term loan under the reorganization plan. Existing stockholders will be offered nothing under the plan.

    Court papers estimate the company’s worth at $225 million, and lenders will be providing a $115 million loan to keep the company running until the next tax season begins.

    A majority of the company’s unsecured creditors are plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits that challenged Jackson Hewitt’s practice of issuing loans based on customers’ anticipated tax returns. Critics have accused the company of violating consumer-protection statutes with the offering of high-interest rapid refunds to tax filers. The IRS stopped providing tax preparers with advance warnings of filers whose returns could be at risk, making the offering of the refund loans untenable and ending the practice.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer