Motion to Expedite Contesting Touch of Italy Auction Denied - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Motion to Expedite Contesting Touch of Italy Auction Denied

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 5:02 PM Updated:

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- A request for an expedited motion to review the fairness of restaurant chain Touch of Italy's recent auction has been denied.

David Weidman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, says the Chancery Court stated that the remedy was for monetary damages

"Thus, the Court has basically said that the sale can’t be contested," Weidman wrote in an email to WBOC. "But if anyone is found to have acted improperly, then the Court will award damages."

In an amended complaint filed last week, Weidman's clients alleged that Bob Ciprietti--Touch of Italy's co-founder who won the auction-- "locked up the leases (thereby breaching his fiduciary duty of loyalty by acting as competitor, rather than a teammate of, the minority shareholders)." It also claims the Chief Restructuring Officer "initiated and oversaw a rushed, flawed and tainted bidding process."

Last week, Ciprietti told WBOC he could not comment on the allegations due to pending litigation, but affirmed the bidding process was fair. On Monday, Ciprietti said now it was back to business as usual. He also thanked his customers for their loyalty throughout the case.

Touch of Italy went to auction in April after a bitter months long legal battle where two of the company's shareholders, Michael Berardinelli and Delmarva Tennis Packages LLC, have filed a complaint against the company, calling for their "fair value of their interests." The result of that complaint was Touch of Italy being auctioned off, and Ciprietti was declared the winner in mid-April.

In light of his motion's denial, Weidman says the plaintiffs will now need to decide how to proceed. In the email he refers to the damages claims against Ciprietti as "fraud and breach of his fiduciary duties for rigging the sales process."

Ciprietti, meanwhile, has moved forward on a long-awaited expansion to Milford, as he says he filed building permits for the property last week. 

 

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