NJ franchisee sues Tony Luke's, alleges fraud

McCain 2008 Palin
Sarah Palin buys a Tony Luke's sandwich while campaigning in Sept. 2008. AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek

AKL Food Service is suing Tony Luke's in Superior Court of New Jersey, alleging fraud and claiming the Philadelphia-based sandwich restaurant failed to provide necessary information to AKL, which opened a franchise in Hamilton, N.J. The complaint which can be read here was filed Monday in Monmouth County, also names as co-defendants Anthony Lucidonio Jr.; his father, Anthony Lucidonio; son, Anthony Lucidonio III; Rastelli Foods Group and several other parties.

It says that Tony Luke's blocked AKL, run by Anastasios Linardos, from renting a smaller Jersey location, which would have been cheaper to operate. The complaint says one of Linardos' early partners was actor/producer Leo Rossi, a friend of Tony Luke, Jr who worked with him on "The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone." Locally raised Rossi is no longer involved with AKL. The Hamilton spot is on the verge of closing and, according to the complaint, AKL has lost $9,000 per month for two years, which it blames on insufficient or inaccurate financials from Tony Luke's.

"We had not seen the lawsuit until it was sent to us by the media late this afternoon," George Polgar, a spokesman for Tony Luke's and Rastelli said last night. "Upon initial review, the claims are absolutely without merit and we will have no further comment pending official review and response by our attorneys."