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UPDATED: Frankfort's Aurelio's, Parent Company Settle Infringement Suit

Details weren't disclosed, but Aurelio's Is Pizza Franchise and the owner of the chain's Frankfort location came to terms over a lawsuit claiming the owner sold improperly prepared frozen pizzas under Aurelio's name, the Chicago Tribune reports.

  • UPDATED (11:51 a.m. Friday, Jan. 6): Comments from Joe Pascale, owner of the Frankfort location.

An franchise owner and the restaurant's parent company reached a settlement over that accused the Frankfort location of selling counterfeit pizzas at a fundraiser for the girls’ field hockey team, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

Kirk Mauriello, director of franchising for the , wouldn't go into details about the settlement but said the company and agreed to terms that would keep that location in the chain's system, the Tribune said. Mauriello said the company had received complaints and questions regarding the ingredients used in the pizzas Pascale provided for the fundraiser, the report stated.

“They were making a substandard product from what our customers were used to getting,” Mauriello told the Tribune. “It was agreed that this won’t happen anymore.“

Pascale on Friday confirmed that a settlement had been reached and that he would be keeping his franchise license, but he denied further comment on the advice of his attorney.

The lawsuit, which was filed in October, contended that Pascale, who also owns Aurelio's franchises in New Lenox and Morris, intentionally committed trademark infringement, dilution and counterfeiting when he contracted with Peotone-based Teresa Food Inc. to make machine-manufactured frozen pizzas with unauthorized ingredients. Pascale sold those pizzas as Aurelio’s brand pizzas at a Homewood-Flossmoor High School athletic fundraiser on Oct. 7.

According to the lawsuit, the parent company caught Pascale selling wholesale frozen pizzas to a local gas station eight years ago, and Pascale promised at the time not to misuse the Aurelio’s trademark again. However, a company investigation uncovered other instances and estimated that Pascale sold more than 100,000 unauthorized pizzas in the past decade, Mauriello told Patch in October.

Kimberly January 06, 2012 at 04:11 AM
I'm shocked!! I will only go to Aurelio's in Homewood from now on and Aurelio's in Frankfort will be known as Fauxrelio's!!
Joe Vince (Editor) January 06, 2012 at 06:21 AM
@Kimberly: I nominate "Fauxrelio's" as the best new word of 2012. Thank you for making my (late) night. Joe Vince Local editor, Frankfort
Suzi Voss January 06, 2012 at 01:57 PM
"Fauxrelio's" - love it!!! I grew up in the Homewood area and was raised on the original Aurelio's pretty much since birth. My very first job as a teenager was there as well. I've lived in Mokena for 20 years and was thrilled to have Aurelio's out here as well. No other locations ever seem to be as good as the original, but it was good enough. I have lost a ton of respect for Joe Pascale for not only doing this once, but twice (and those were just the times he was caught...who knows how many other times he has tried to pull this off??). It makes me seriously question the integrity of the pizza at the local restaurants out here and whether he's taken shortcuts there as well. I hope Joey Aurelio comes out personally and takes a look at what's going on in the Frankfort/Mokena/New Lenox kitchens. :(
Peter Martin January 06, 2012 at 02:18 PM
DEAR JOE PASCALE, I WAS NOT AWARE OF YOUR "CONTINUED" DECEPTION AS A FRANCHISEE. YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY "GREEDY" AND MAY BE "DIS-INFRANCHISED" IN THE FUTURE. PLEASE GO TO CHURCH, CONFESS YOUR SINS AND DONATE AT LEAST $5,000 TO ANY "LEGITIMATE" US MILITARY ORGANIZATION. MY NIECE RECENTLY TOOK US TO YOUR FRANKOFRT LOCATION FOR HER DAD'S 70TH BIRTHDAY PARTY. MY WIFE AND I ALSO FREQUENT THE SAME LOCATION. MY NEICE WAS SENT THE NEWS ARTICLE.. WE WILL HALT ANY ADDITIONAL BUSINESS TO YOUR LOCATIONS FOR A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS (3) UNTIL WE SEE THAT YOU GET YOUR ACT IN ORDER. THIS NATION WAS NOT BUILT ON "SMALL-TIME" CROOKS!
Rebecca Wharrie January 06, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Joe has been a good guy in Frankfort and been very generous to our local not-for-profit organizations. I wish he would make a statement about his choices in this matter. From a PR standpoint, he needs to explain/apologize or something. Too bad; good deeds are undone very quickly with bad choices.
al martineck sr January 06, 2012 at 03:02 PM
the aurelio's sign should be taken down from that location
Mia January 06, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I was not aware of this either and this is MY family. I know Joe does a lot for benefits and kids but please explain what this has to do with the military? He should donate to whomever the Aurelio's family decides on. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Hmmm. None of us qualify. Joe is a good man and will make this right.
Sue N. January 06, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I agree Rebecca.I heard about them selling the frozen versions as a fundraiser, but I was not aware he had changed the recipe. I'm very sadden that he chose to dilute the recipe on his own. Makes it sound like a sleezy way to make sure he was still making a profit while helping charities. He's done a lot to help local not-for-profits and would hate for him to stop. So many businesses are cutting back as it is and many charities suffer. But a public apology from Joe would really help restore my faith in their business and I would continue to go the Frankfort location then.
Mia January 06, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Actually Ann Aurelio is the owner now since Joe Sr. passed. It's her call.
Diane January 06, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I THINK THE ONE IN DOWTOWN DOWNERS GROVE USE SOME KIND OF FAKE CHEESE AND NOW THE ONE IN WOODRIDGE SEEMS BAD THE LAST 2 TIMES ALSO. THERE ALL USEING A DIFERENT CHEESE. THE ONE IN HOMEWOOD IS NOT, ITS STILL THE BEST.
Kathy January 06, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Ahhh, this explains the coupon my son brought home. Post something nice about the New Lenox Aurelio's on Facebook or Twitter and show it to them from your mobile device and receive 20% off your order instantly! I knew something was up, thanks Patch for the explanation. I too grew up on the original Aurelio's, we've always said that the ingredients were different but have grown to like the Frankfort location. Now I have to think twice before going there.
Jim McGonigal January 06, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Kimberly, Please do not hold this one incedent against the chain as a whole, Most of the franchisees strive very hard to create the magic that happen in the kitchen of "Homewood"! "Fauxrellio's".... LOVE IT! get that copyrighted ASAP :)
Crete Monee Mom January 06, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I thnk it is sad, very sad he sounds very greedy. God doesnt like greed and he will pay for it in the long run and he doesnt care obviously because if you read the article he has done this before. I still stand that Crete has the best Aurelios and I hope that Luke never steps down to that level and sells fake pizzas. He is very good to our school district Crete Monee and helps us all out. LOVE LUKE, have him take that one over...
Missy January 06, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I think the worst part of it is that he was caught doing this before and now did it AGAIN. How can anyone think he's sorry for it if he keeps doing it? Probably just sorry he got caught. Wonder how much extra money he made on this scam...
Frankforter January 07, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Dude. Caps off.
Kirk Mauriello January 10, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Message from Joe Aurelio, President and CEO of Aurelio's Pizza "I would like to say that Joe Pascale is a good hardworking man who has supported his community for many years. Joe runs one of the best Aurelio's Pizza locations in the country. Unfortunately, he made a mistake. In order to protect the Aurelio's Brand that we are so proud of and our customers love, we put a stop to it. That is why we took action. But, now the matter is resolved and we are very happy to have Joe Pascale on the Aurelio's Team. I know you will have a wonderful experience enjoying the Aurelio's Pizza you love when dining at the Aurelio's of Frankfort restaurant"
Kimberly January 10, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Here is what the above message from Joe Aurelio says to me ..... Joe Pascale's franchise in Frankfort makes us a lot of money, please don't hold it against Joe P. for his mistake, this time, or the time before, or even the times we might not have caught him. We saw fit to give him a slap on the wrist, cause we enjoy the money he brings in!! Sorry, but I'll put my money directly in your pocket when I frequent Aurelio's in Homewood. Nuff said!
Missy January 11, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Kimberly...you hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what that message says...
Peter Martin January 11, 2012 at 03:54 PM
DEAR FOLKS, PLEASE VIEW MY EARLIER COMMENT. MR. PASCALE'S FRANCHISE AND ITS FRANCHISOR WILL "LOSE" MONEY BECAUSE MR. JOE PASCALE VIOLATED...ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION...THE FRANCHISE DOCUMENTS THAT HE SIGNED. ONCE THE LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT WAS MADE PUBLIC, THE FRANCHISOR AND FRANCHISEE WERE RIGHTLY EXPOSED TO THE OBVIOUS RAMIFICATIONS THAT FOLLOWED. ALSO, KIRK, THE FRANCHISOR MUST LOSE MONEY AGAIN BECAUSE YOU ARE WILLING TO PUT SHORT TERMS PROFITS AHEAD OF MR. PASCALE'S CONTINUED GREEDY ACTIONS. PLEASE INFORM THE PUBLIC IF THE FRANCHISE IN FRANKFORT IS PUT UP FOR SALE. I AM SURE THAT YOU AND MR. PASCALE HAVE NOTICED A DROP IN THAT LOCATION'S REVENUE..AS WELL IT SHOULD. DURING THESE HARD ECONOMIC TIMES, I AM SURE THAT THERE ARE EHTICAL ENTREPRENEURS WHO WOULD BE WILLING TO PURCHASE THE "DAMAGED" FRANCHISE IN FRANKFORT. MR. PASCALE WILL HAVE TO MAKE DO WITH HIS OTHER AURELIO UNITS. JOE'S PARTY MAY BE OVER IN FRANKFORT.
SOXSIDE GUY May 02, 2012 at 06:56 AM
DOWNERS GROVE BUY'S IT'S CHEESE FROM AURELIO'S IN HOMEWOOD HOW COULD IT BE DIFFERENT.
Rose Govert May 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I grew up enjoying Aurellio's pizza - first at the Homewood location and then they opened in South Holland and went there sometimes. Homewood always was the favorite. Then I moved to Frankfort and starting going to that location. I still do and always will continue going to Aurellio's in Frankfort. We have had parties there and will continue to do so. It is unfortunate that this frozen pizza event was handled poorly, however, if there was an apology I feel I can forgive. We all make bad decisions at times. Hopefully, it was a lesson learned. Thank you Joe for all the donating continue to do for charities. Rose
frank glio October 09, 2012 at 08:10 AM
you people have boring lives if you are really concerned about this topic....
Darnell October 09, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Thank You Frank,, your comment said it all! It's pizza people,,Jeebus, get a life!!!

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