Tuesday, November 25, 2014

$584K Embezzlement Alleged At Popular Restaurant In Chicago

From Crain's Chicago Business on 11/24/2014:

A principal investor at the popular Purple Pig restaurant just off North Michigan Avenue has filed suit against the business's other partners: Jimmy Bannos Sr., Jimmy Bannos Jr., Gary Veselsky and Tony Mantuano, along with the restaurant's general manager, Laura Payne, for violations including embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty and unlawfully destroying records.

The suit, filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court by chef and restaurateur Scott Harris, alleges that Bannos Sr. and his son, Bannos Jr., who is Purple Pig's executive chef, engaged in “intentional mismanagement and wrongful conduct” by making improper payments to themselves and other partners totaling more than $584,000 between Jan. 1, 2010, and Nov. 20.

The suit alleges that the Bannoses used those improper distributions to pay for home repairs, auto-related expenses, an engagement party for Bannos Sr.'s daughter, health insurance and “abusive spending” at the James Beard Awards banquet in New York. Harris also alleges the Bannoses used the Purple Pig credit card for personal and family vacations, nonbusiness dinners, personal meals, computers, home-improvement projects and auto-related purchases.

Further, the suit claims, Bannos Sr. directed improper payments to himself, Bannos Jr. and Payne that were “concealed and/or mischaracterized as salaries or bonuses,” and improper distributions to himself, Bannos Jr., Mantuano and Veselsky that were miscategorized as personal loans. Harris also alleges that Purple Pig's other partners improperly transferred without his consent 0.66 percent of his membership stake to Bannos Jr. in November 2013, decreasing his ownership share to 38.34 percent.

Read the whole story here.

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