By Tom Hals
WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – Founder and largest shareholder of Papa Johns International Inc sued the board of the pizza chain on Thursday to stop what he described as "irreparable damage" (1
Schnatter sues the board and CEO Steve Ritchie, "to stop the irreparable damage that these individuals owe to the company because of their repeated and persistent violations of loyalty and diligence," said Schnatter.
Papa Johns said the allegations were unfounded.
"John Schnatter will do anything to divert attention from the company caused by his inappropriate words," the company said in a statement. "He continues to make reckless charges in his attempt to regain control and serve his own interests."
The lawsuit was filed in the Delawares court, and Schnatter asked the court to accelerate the case.
On Thursday, the company publicly criticized Schnatter for attending a meeting in July about a possible deal with the Hamburg chain Wendy's Co without Ritchie's presence, as the board had mandated.
A Papa John shareholder filed a lawsuit claiming a class-action lawsuit on Thursday accused the company and Schnatter of the fraud of having concealed his alleged improper workplace behavior, pointing out that his Code of Conduct could not prevent it.
Papa Johns shares were $ 46.02 on Friday.
(report by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, additional coverage by Liana B. Baker of New York, adaptation by Bill Rigby)