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Packo’s ex-co-owner testifies in theft trial

Horvath speaks on family problems

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    Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor John Weglian questions Robin Horvath.

    The Blade/Andy Morrison
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    Robin Horvath listens to a hearing on the sale of Tony Packo's restaurants to Bob Bennett, in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in Toledo, Thursday, December 15, 2011. THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY

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After hearing from various witnesses that Robin Horvath was the first to raise allegations of financial wrongdoing within Tony Packo’s Inc., a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury heard firsthand some of the testimony from the former co-owner.


Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor John Weglian questions Robin Horvath.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
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Mr. Horvath, a grandson of Tony Packo, testified Wednesday at the criminal trial for his cousin Tony Packo III and Cathleen Dooley, the company’s controller. The pair are each 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 company, testified briefly at the end of the day about the history of the company and some of the problems that developed between the Packo descendants. He is expected to return to the witness stand today.

Eighteen witnesses have testified so far during the anticipated two-week trial. The allegations of theft surround money allegedly stolen by Mr. Packo, including the taking of cash from parking proceeds at the company’s restaruant near Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo and payment advances. Ms. Dooley is accused of helping to facilitate the alleged thefts.

Mr. Horvath testified that when his grandfather died, the company was passed on to two of his children — Nancy Packo Horvath and Tony Packo, Jr. Mr. Horvath eventually joined his mother and uncle in the business.

In 2002, a disagreement developed between the two sides, and Mr. Horvath and his mother eventually sued Tony Packo, Jr. Among the concerns were financial discrepancies, he testified.

“The allegations involved Tony Packo, Jr., taking from the corporation excessive product … unauthorized loans, unauthorized payments, and tuition for his son, Tony Packo III,” Mr. Hovath said.

The issue was resolved through mediation, and the company was completely restructured, he testified. Soon after, Ms. Dooley was hired.

Before Mr. Horvath testified, a certified public accountant testified for several hours about the financial statements and reviews that her firm conducted for Tony Packo’s Inc. Marcia Veres-Sutton of Sobb/Roberts Inc. said she was aware of concerns raised by Mr. Horvath. She further testified that a review of the allegations revealed only two expenditures that her firm considered not to be company-related — a glass shower door at Mr. Packo’s home and roof repairs at the home of Mr. Packo’s mother.

Ms. Sutton further testified that financial records showed that thousands of dollars worth of payments to Tony Packo III — purportedly for travel reimbursements — were not reported anywhere as part of his income. She responded to questions posed about checks totaling nearly $90,000 that although they were purported to be for travel, nothing in payroll records supported the amounts.

When questioned by the defense, Ms. Sutton said none of the transactions or checks was hidden or done in secret but instead all were recorded in some fashion.

Also testifying Wednesday was Kevin Devaney, a corporate lawyer who represents the business interests of Mr. Packo and his father, Tony Packo, Jr.

Contact Erica Blake at: or 419-213-2134.

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