Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Trial of 2 Packo's execs delayed again


Cathleen Dooley, left, and Tony Packo III.


The trial date for a pair charged with stealing from the famed Tony Packo's restaurant company has been postponed until September in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Tony Packo III and Cathleen Dooley are each charged with three counts of aggravated theft for allegedly stealing about $170,000 over a four-year period. Judge Frederick McDonald on Tuesday granted a request to move the trial date from this month to Sept. 27.

Mr. Packo, 39, the grandson of the restaurant's founder, and Ms. Dooley, 47, the company's controller, were indicted Dec. 14 by a county grand jury after a lengthy inquiry by an investigator in the prosecutor's office. They have remained free on recognizance bonds since their Jan. 3 arraignments.

Judge McDonald noted that the change was at the request of the prosecutor's office, which said that a member of its prosecution team was dealing with a family illness.

After a review, the judge determined that the new trial date was within the requirements for a speedy trial.

Although Mr. Packo's attorneys did not oppose the request, attorney Rick Kerger objected on behalf of Ms. Dooley, saying she has had the case "hanging over her head for more than six months."

The delay is the trial's second. A June trial date was pushed back to Aug. 13 because the original date conflicted with the court's schedule.

Authorities said the accusations were brought to the prosecutor's office by the attorney of former co-owner Robin Horvath, who is a cousin of Mr. Packo and at the time owned half the business.

In February, the company was sold to businessman Bob Bennett of TP Foods LLC, after being placed into receivership for more than a year. Mr. Horvath since has sued the company, its new owners, and members of his family, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated in violation of the Whistleblower Act.

That complaint, as well as similar lawsuits filed by three other former Packo's employees, remains pending before Judge Gene Zmuda.

John Weglian, chief of the special units division of the prosecutor's office, told Judge McDonald Tuesday that he anticipates needing about one week to present the state's case. Thousands of documents and multiple recorded interviews have been collected as state's evidence in the case.

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