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One of the former owners of Tony Packo’s Inc. has sued the company, its new owners, and members of his family claiming that he was wrongly terminated in violation of the Whistleblower Act.
Robin Horvath filed the complaint late Tuesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit names Packo’s as TP Foods LLC and Bennett Management Corp., which purchased the restaurant company after it was in court receivership for more than a year.
Also named was the court-appointed receiver, Skutch Co. Ltd., and individuals Tony Packo III, and Tony Packo, Jr.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Horvath was employed by the Packo’s company for 30 years, most recently as chief operating officer. In 2009, Mr. Horvath became aware of “financial indiscretions” caused by Mr. Packo III, and Cathleen Dooley, the company’s controller, the lawsuit said.
Mr. Horvath made efforts to determine its accuracy and notified the company’s board of directors prior to reporting the information to authorities. Mr. Packo III, and Ms. Dooley were subsequently indicted by a Lucas County grand jury on charges of aggravated theft and currently await trial.
Subsequently, the company was put into receivership.
In February, after a lengthy court battle initiated by Mr. Horvath, the company was sold through court order to businessman Bob Bennett of TP Foods LLC.
At the time, all Packo’s employees were informed by the receiver that their employment was terminated and that they would receive notification from TP Foods with an invitation to apply for continued employment.
“Only four employees of Defendant Packo’s Inc., including [Mr. Horvath] did not receive the letter from TP Food, LLC continuing their employment,” the complaint said. “Each of these employees provided information to the Lucas County Prosecutor or assisted in the compilation of that information.”
Currently pending in common pleas court before Judge Gene Zmuda are wrongful termination complaints filed by Sue Marchbanks, a former accounting clerk, and Refujio Perez, former director of maintenance. Also filed Tuesday was a wrongful termination lawsuit by Jessica Moses, the former assistant manager of the company’s central kitchen.
The lawsuits ask for back pay, attorney fees, and damages.