Pi owners settle breach of contract lawsuits that alleged they offered a percentage of the business to Mangialardo and Marsden
Tenured Kirkwood teacher said she was fired based on her race.
Pi Pizza owners Chris Sommers and Frank Uible recently settled two breach-of-contract suits in St. Louis County and St. Louis City.
Former Pi managing partner Ryan Mangialardo settled with Sommers and Uible in April, while former Mirasol owner Vincent Brian Marsden settled with the pair in June.
Mangialardo alleged in court documents that he created the concept of Pi, the menu, the style of service, and the blueprint for the daily operation of the restaurant. He also alleges that as a result of his work for and association with Western Addition LLC, he was verbally promised by Sommers and Uible that he would hold 2 percent interest in the LLC.
Western Addition is the legal name for the original Pi location in the Delmar Loop.
According to the court documents On June 16, 2008, Mangialardo was allegedly presented with a copy of a letter that included a statement of consent to Mangialardo’s admittance as a member of Western Addition. At that time, Mangialardo was also allegedly presented with a document entitled “Security Holder Report,” which inaccurately reflected the percentage of ownership interest agreed upon by Sommers and Uible.
Mangialardo alleges in the court documents that Sommers and Uible assured him that the error would be corrected.
During the spring and early summer of 2009, Mangialardo accepted the responsibility of setting up the Kirkwood Pi location. The Kirkwood Pi location officially opened in October 2009; the Central West End location opened in December 2009.
Mangialardo said he confronted Sommers and Uible after inadvertently discovering the Kirkwood Pi location was going to be owned by Pioneer Operations, a separate legal entity that Mangialardo would not be offered an interest in.
The Central West End Pi location is also a separate legal entity named Terrace Operations.
According to the court documents, on July 2, 2009, Sommers and Uible fired Mangialardo. He alleges the firing was without explanation and that Sommers and Uible told him they would still honor his 2 percent interest in Western Addition.
A source close to Mangialardo says that he is satisfied with the terms of the settlement, reached in the St. Louis County courtroom of Judge Mark Siegel.
Sommers and Uible allege in the court documents that Mangialardo did not provide any significant contribution to the success of Pi and also alleged that Mangialardo’s poor customer service, general inefficiency, inappropriate and discriminatory comments and insubordination as an employee were among the reasons he was fired.
According to a source close to all involved, Sommers is telling people that his case was dismissed with prejudice in his favor, legalese meaning he can’t be sued by Mangialardo for the same thing again.
Marsden filed suit against Sommers in the St. Louis City courtroom of Judge Steve Ohmer in June 2010 and also alleges in court documents that Sommers and Uible also promised him an interest in Western Addition.
Marsden, who owned and operated Mirasol in the Delmar Loop, allegedly was approached by Sommers in September 2007, who inquired about the availability of the location in the Delmar Loop.
Sommers allegedly offered three asset purchase agreement options where Sommers and Uible were to take over Marsden’s Mirasol lease.
The option Marsden allegedly chose included Sommers and Uible paying the building’s landlord, Joe Edwards, $75,000 in back rent, $15,000 was to be paid to Marsden to compensate him for 90 days work at Pi, Marsden was to receive one unit of ownership in Pi, and additional employment after 90 days with the right to purchase three additional units of ownership.
On Dec. 31, 2007, Mirasol closed. On Jan. 20, 2008, Sommers allegedly told Marsden that his services would not be needed at Pi. Marsden allegedly agreed to this modification of the agreement.
In late January 2008, Marsden alleges he met with Sommers at Pi in the Delmar Loop to execute the new asset purchase agreemment. Marsden alleges he never received anything promised him in the agreement.
A Sept. 15, 2009, email to Marsden from Sommers, and offered as an exhibit by Marsden, said:
“Vinny, thanks for the email. Yes, selling SF is a huge weight off my shoulders, but lost so much money, so it’s very frustrating, too! Hey, I found an old copy of that asset purchase agreement. But this one isn’t signed. Not sure where the real signed one is. If you need me to sign another one, I can do that.”
The source also hinted that Sommers and Uible in addition to their St. Louis and Washington DC stores are also scouting locations in Chicago and Miami for future Pi restaurants.
Mangialardo was represented by Tim Lemen of Green Jacobsen P.C. who declined comment. Marsden was represented by Matt McBride of Lashley Baer, who did not return a call seeking comment. Sommers and Uible were represented by Kyler Humphrey of Polsinelli Shughart, who did not return a phone call seeking comment.
This Just In....
Sommers and Uible announced Thursday night that they have reached a lease agreement with Joe Edwards for the property at 6140 Delmar, adjacent to and just east of Pi’s Delmar location.
The space will be used to provide extra room for customers waiting for a table and to expand the restaurant’s carryout business. That location was most recently was occupied by Gabby’s Fashion Accessories.
Kirkwood School District employment discrimination suit
Former tenured Kirkwood High counselor Julie Hanewinkel sued the Kirkwood School District in May claiming she was fired based on her race.
Hanewinkel was pregnant during the 2007-08 school year, according to the court documents.
Hanewinkel said she expected to return to work following the birth of her child and raising it one or two years.
Larry Fields of Richard Banks & Associates is representing Hanewinkel. He did not return a phone call seeking comment.