Bankruptcy of Giordano’s Pizza Chain Complicated by Owner’s Sovereign Citizen Lingo
The owner of the Chicago-based Giordano’s pizza chain has been banned from the premises after getting involved with a figure thought to be associated with the sovereign citizen movement.
John Apostolou started as a cook at Giordano’s, got promoted into management and bought the business in 1988, the Chicago Tribune reports. The company and other family businesses experienced financial problems with the collapse of the real estate market and defaulted on loans. The businesses then sought Chapter 11 protection.
The troubles began, the Tribune says, when Apostolou and his wife, who owns half of the pizza chain, filed documents with the bankruptcy court declaring themselves “American Freemen” who don’t recognize U.S. currency. Days later, the company’s bankruptcy lawyer withdrew, citing irreconcilable differences.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Squires appointed a trustee to oversee the business, prompting more court papers from Apostolou claiming “bank fraud, securities fraud and tax fraud by the United States.”
Apostolou told the Tribune he didn’t understand the documents, supplied by Marshall Home, a figure thought to be associated with the sovereign citizen movement. Sovereign citizens don’t believe courts have jurisdiction over them and don’t believe in paying taxes. Home has filed a $150 million lien against the business, spurring a request for sanctions by the trustee, who maintains it is fraudulent.