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Published: Thursday, 10/4/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Packo cousin testifies about 'covert' operation into company's finances

Robin Horvath testifies in the trial of Tony Packo III and Cathleen Dooley in Judge Frederick McDonald's Lucas County Common Pleas courtroom on Wednesday. Robin Horvath testifies in the trial of Tony Packo III and Cathleen Dooley in Judge Frederick McDonald's Lucas County Common Pleas courtroom on Wednesday.
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Robin Horvath, a member of the Tony Packo’s family and former owner of the company, testified in Lucas County Common Pleas Court today about the “anomalies” in the company’s 2009 financial records that caused him concern.

Mr. Horvath returned to the witness stand during the criminal trial of his cousin, Tony Packo III, and the company’s controller, Cathleen Dooley. Each are charged with aggravated theft for allegedly stealing $170,000 from the company over a four-year period.

Mr. Horvath, who has since lost his ownership in the iconic restaurant company, testified that he became concerned when he noticed what he believed were unusual expenditures or amounts showing up on the company’s various profit and loss statements. He said that he decided to investigate the matter on his own in a “covert” manner before bringing his concerns to the attention of his cousin and his uncle, Tony Packo, Jr., who were also one-time owners of the company.

“I felt it raised suspicions and I would have to proceed at this covertly, to investigate this,” Mr. Horvath said of his first review of the 2009 reports in February, 2010. “I started to go into the office at night. … I started in the accounts payable files.”

Mr. Hovath testified that he then had a March 1, 2010, meeting with his family, the company’s lawyer, and Jack Simonetti, the neutral third-party member of the company’s board. There his concerns were discussed and explained, although not all to his satisfaction, he said.

Mr. Packo is charged with stealing money from the company, including the taking of cash from parking proceeds at the company’s ballpark location and payment advancements. Ms. Dooley is accused of helping to facilitate the alleged thefts.

Prior to criminal charges being filed, the Packo family went through a publicized civil battle in common pleas court that resulted in the appointment of a receiver to run the day-to-day operations. In February, the company was sold to TP Foods LLC.

Mr. Packo and Ms. Dooley were retained and are currently working at the company. Mr. Horvath was not and has since filed a wrongful termination and whistleblowers lawsuit, which remains pending.

Mr. Horvath is expected to testify for several hours Thursday.

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