- 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.