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Published: Wednesday, 10/10/2012

Investigator Stiles returns to stand in Packo’s theft trial

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Investigator Frank Stiles testified in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday that he was given numerous allegations by both sides of the Tony Packo’s restaurant dispute, but said that after investigating them “some were substantiated, some were not.”

Mr. Stiles, an investigator for the county prosecutor’s office, returned to the witness stand on the seventh day of testimony in the criminal trial of Tony Packo III and Cathleen Dooley. He reviewed aspects of his two-year investigation that resulted in aggravated theft charges being filed against the grandson of the company’s founder and the company’s controller.

The investigation was begun in July, 2010, when Robin Horvath, a former co-owner of the company and Mr. Packo’s cousin, approached the prosecutor’s office with theft allegations. When questioned by the attorneys for Mr. Packo and Ms. Dooley, Mr. Stiles said both sides made accusations about company misappropriations.

In particular, Mr. Stiles was questioned on admissions by Mr. Horvath that the company paid for his annual dry cleaning bill and personal parties for family members at the restaurant. Mr. Stiles said he only was aware of some of the expenses but that neither Mr. Horvath nor Mr. Packo’s father, Tony Packo, Jr., were charged with any crime.

“There were allegations made and the facts found pointed to the defendants,” he testified.

Twenty-one witnesses have testified and more than 200 exhibits have been reviewed to date in the trial that is expected to last through the end of the week..

The allegations of theft surround money allegedly stolen by Mr. Packo, including the taking of cash from parking proceeds at the company’s restaurant near Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo, receiving money to pay off a personal loan taken for the corporation, and pocketing some of the money, as well as payment advances. Ms. Dooley is accused of helping to facilitate the alleged thefts.

Mr. Stiles reviewed a paper that indicated Mr. Packo had taken a personal loan from the bank to be used by Tony Packo’s Inc. Mr. Stiles testified that although the company was paying Mr. Packo back for the loan, there was a $17,000 plus difference between what was given to him and what was paid the bank.

When questioned by Mr. Packo’s attorney, Mr. Stiles acknowledged that there was nothing written that obligated Mr. Packo to pay the bank the exact amount he received. He also stated that ultimately the loan was in Mr. Packo’s name, so Mr. Packo was liable for the loan.

Mr. Stiles responded to questions by Ms. Dooley’s attorney, who asked if “there’s a lot you don’t know about this case.” In particular, attorney Rick Kerger questioned whether the reason Mr. Stiles’ was unable to find documentation supporting Mr. Packo’s expenses was because they had previously been removed from the company’s files.

Mr. Stiles testified for more than five hours over two days.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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