TOLEDO, OHIO (AP) - A hot dog eatery made famous on the TV series “M-A-S-H” has been sold after a yearlong family feud over ownership.
Representatives of a private restaurant group in Toledo said Monday they have finalized their $5.5 million purchase of the Tony Packo’s chain, whose future had been in doubt since a bank foreclosed on its loans and a court-appointed third party was put in charge.
The new owners said they plan to keep some members of the Packo family on board, including the founder’s grandson who is facing charges of stealing from the business.
Packo’s was mentioned in six of the 250 episodes of “M-A-S-H” and continues to draw tourists even though the show ended its run three decades ago.
Bob Bennett, the owner of 26 Burger Kings in the Toledo area, won the bidding for the chain last fall. The sale fell through before being revived last month.
The sale includes the recipe for Packo’s chili sauce, which is sold in groceries throughout the Midwest, and its autographed hot dog buns, which are displayed on the walls. Celebrity signers include Bing Crosby, Alice Cooper and Bill Cosby.
An attorney for the new owners said just over a week ago that Bennett still plans to keep the founder’s grandson involved in a major role within the company, even though he was charged in December.
Tony Packo III and another company official have pleaded not guilty to aggravated theft. Authorities have said the charges stem from an 18-month investigation into the alleged theft of about $170,000 from the restaurant chain.
Trouble began a year ago when descendants of the restaurant’s namesake began accusing each other of financial misdeeds and mismanagement. The company’s lender then foreclosed on almost $4 million in loans. A judge put a third party in charge of the operations while the dispute over ownership played out in court.
By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention