Good article today by Michael Klein in the Inquirer about the ongoing legal battle between Tony Luke Jr. – the pseudo-famous jolly fellow you instantly recall when you hear the name Tony Luke’s – and his father, Tony Sr., and brother, Nicky.
The gist is that Tony Sr. and Nicky, who run the flagship location in South Philly and fired Tony Jr. last summer, are upset that they haven’t been properly compensated for Tony Luke’s franchising endeavors, which were spearheaded and championed by the more ambitious Tony Jr. As part of the franchising agreement, Tony Sr. and Nicky were to be paid a cut of net profits, of which there are none, according to Tony Jr.’s lawyer, who claims that the added exposure and awareness brought on by the franchises have made the flagship location millions in added revenue.
But here’s the real, ahem, meat:
In a complaint filed by Tony Luke Inc. on Feb. 29 in New Jersey Superior Court in Gloucester County, a lawyer representing the interests of Tony Sr. and Nicholas allege that they signed the agreement and a follow-up agreement but had not read them “because they reasonably believed that Tony Jr. had had the agreement prepared to document their understanding.”
The agreement gave control of the Tony Luke trademark, recipes, and what is known as trade dress to a company controlled by Tony Jr., according to court papers filed by Steven E. Angstreich, of Weir & Partners.
Unfortunate turn of events for all involved, but who doesn’t read the agreement?
And then there’s this:
Also under terms of the agreement, the father and son’s business prepared the broccoli rabe, spinach, mushrooms, fried peppers, hot peppers, red gravy and pork juice for sale to the franchisees. The franchisees were also permitted to purchase the blend of seasonings and spices from a company that the father had an exclusive agreement with.
Last year, around the time of Tony Jr.’s ouster, Tony Sr. and Nicholas stopped preparing the food, the Tony Luke’s Inc. suit says.
Rastelli now prepares it.
Tony Luke Inc.’s suit says that when Tony Sr. learned of complaints from franchisees over the quality, he began moves to rebrand the South Philadelphia shop and dissociate the eatery from the Tony Luke’s name.
I’ve always wondered if the TL’s’s’s’s’s in Warminster and Springfield used the same ingredients, because the quality is hit or miss. Guess not. Good read.