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Published: Saturday, 10/5/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

Tony Packo III bows out of namesake restaurant

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Packo III Packo III
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Tony Packo III, grandson of the founder of Toledo’s Tony Packo’s restaurants, has left his position within Bennett Management Corp, which acquired the chain in February, 2012.

Mr. Packo III, 40, and his father, Tony Packo, Jr., had been recruited to stay with the company by the late Robert Bennett.

Mr. Bennett’s TP Foods Inc. won the right to purchase Tony Packo’s in 2011 through a court-ordered bidding process that followed a Packo family dispute that forced the restaurant chain into receivership.

Mr. Packo III and Tony Packo, Jr., had been helping to integrate the chain, which has five restaurants, into Bennett Management under the leadership of its new CEO, Jimmy Harmon, whom Mr. Bennett had hired to run his company just days before his death on May 8.

“Tony Packo’s Toledo confirms that Tony Packo III is no longer employed by the company. Tony Packo III has left to pursue other opportunities. Tony Packo, Jr., will remain in his current role with the company as chief operating officer, “ Mr. Harmon said in a statement Friday.

Mr. Packo III, who left Bennett earlier this week, said he enjoyed working for the company, which owns 26 Burger King stores in addition to the Packo’s chain. But he added that it seemed time to explore other opportunities and anticipates that any new position may be in an industry other than food service.

“Fortunately, my skill set is transferable to other industries,” said Mr. Packo III, who holds a business degree from the University of Michigan.

“The last 13 years have been a tremendous learning experience and I was blessed to be a part of a great organization,” Mr. Packo III said. “But the last four have taught me a lot about life and family and business,” he added.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to move on and explore some new possibilities,” Mr. Packo III said. “I truly believe that the [Bennett] organization is in great hands and wish them nothing but the best and will always be available for consultation.”

With Bennett, both Packos were part of a team Mr. Harmon had assembled to come up with new ways to build the restaurant’s business. Part of that team’s duties were to devise new menu items, such as a Packo’s Pizza and a Fried Pickle Salad, both of which have become very popular and complement the chain’s famous Hungarian hot dogs.

In October, 2012, Mr. Packo III and a former Packo’s company controller, Cathleen Dooley, were accused of stealing more than $170,000 from the restaurant company over a four-year period. But a jury of seven men and five women found them not guilty after considering the testimony of 20 witnesses and more than 300 documents presented in the case.

In December, the pair asked Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald to seal the record in criminal court and the judge agreed, removing the case from the public forum.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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