Hoagie shop franchise sues Mount Laurel man over debt

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A lawsuit filed Tuesday says Jay Venito of Mount Laurel agreed in January 2011 to run a PrimoHoagie store in Lumberton. As part of the deal, he would have to pay 7 percent of sales for franchise fees and advertising.

PrimoHoagies was in court Tuesday, filing a lawsuit against one of its shop operators.

  • The suit says Jay Venito agreed to run a PrimoHoagie store in Lumberton and pay 7 percent of sales for franchise fees and advertising.
  • Venito failed to pay the fees and urged PrimoHoagie to conduct a fire sale of the business.

Nicholas Papanier, 57, owner of PrimoHoagies Franchising Inc., was in federal court in Camden two weeks ago, pleading guilty to tax evasion stemming from taxes he owed on hoagie shop operators' cash payments to him for salami, ham, and other deli ingredients.

This week, his company was back in Camden's federal courthouse, having filed a lawsuit against one of its shop operators.

The suit, filed Tuesday, says Jay Venito of Mount Laurel agreed in January 2011 to run a PrimoHoagie store on Route 38 in Lumberton. As part of the deal, he would have to pay 7 percent of sales for franchise fees and advertising.

When he didn't pay, the suit said, PrimoHoagie sent a default notice. Venito's response, the suit said, was "to conduct a fire sale of their business . . . in a manner calculated to embarrass and tarnish the reputation of Primo."

Venito could not be reached for comment, and Primo's lawyer, Craig R. Tractenberg of Philadelphia, said Primo had been unsuccessful in contacting Venito.

The franchise agreement, according to the suit, gives Primo the right to operate a troubled business and first shot at buying equipment and other assets.

Primo has more than 60 hoagie franchises in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. PrimoHoagies Franchising is based in Sewell.

Papanier faces sentencing on the tax-evasion case June 28 before U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman.

 


Contact Jane Von Bergen at jvonbergen@phillynews.com, @JaneVonBergen on Twitter, or 215-854-2769. Read her workplace blog at www.philly.com/jobbing.