Ramzy Hattar, Co-Owner and Investor of Largo, Portland’s popular sandwich chain, filed a $9 million lawsuit against his business partners, Kurt Huffman and Rick Gencarelli, claiming they conspired to divert funds without Hattar’s knowledge, and engaged in other financial improprieties that caused him monetary damage.
This is actually the second action filed by Hattar against his business partners, and comes shortly after a December suit naming Huffman and Gencarelli which sought 1.6M or control of the company’s southeast and west locations.
Largo was initially launched as a food cart in 2010, but would later join Huffman’s ChefStable Group with a brick and mortar restaurant on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Hattar joined the organization in 2012, investing $50,000 for a 10 percent stake in the venture.
This most recent suit alleges that Gencarelli and Huffman used funds from the sandwich chain to subsidize the rent on their other restaurant ventures, including a struggling ChefStable operation in North Portland, and claims that the two attempted to freeze Hattar out of the business by transferring $280,000 to other ventures without his consent, and omitting him as an owner.
Hattar is claiming relief for a range of damages, including breach of contract and federal racketeering.
“For me it’s very emotional and it hurts a lot” said Gencarelli “I’m worried about my kids, my home, my security. We just want to reach a resolution…I once considered [Hattar] a friend. To take it to this level, it’s unfathomable for me.”
Fellow business partner, Kurt Huffman, said that “up until yesterday, we thought Ramzy wanted to get bought out, and now it looks like he just wants to tear down the whole company”
Hattar doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong, commenting that
“[Huffman] admitted to many of us that he’s done wrong and knows that he’s done wrong….It’s gone on for far too long. He’s tried bullying me out of my position in a company I helped start, and I’m not going to be bullied.”