The Castelotti family, which runs the famed John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Street and its offshoot in Times Square, finds itself embroiled in a lawsuit that's complicated in the way only a family pizza business lawsuit can be. Here's the background: While 72-year-old Peter Castelotti, Sr continues to run the original (and Who Goes There? vet), the Times Square location was run by his estranged wife Madeline Castelotti, who was going to leave it to both her children before cutting her son Peter Castelotti, Jr out of her will shortly before her death in 2004.
Castelotti, Jr is now suing his sister, Lisa Free, who became their mother's sole beneficiary, because he claims she verbally committed to treat him as an equal partner once his divorce was finalized. (He was cut out of the mother's will to spite his then-wife Rea Castelotti.) Castelotti, Jr's lawsuit alleges that, instead of treating him as an partner in the business, Free has been dodging taxes, violating occupancy laws by allowing too many people in the 400-seat restaurant, and committing insurance fraud. He's seeking full control of the business plus $25 million in damages.
· Accusations Fly as Family Fights Over Famed John's Pizzeria in $25M Suit [NYP]
· All Coverage of John's Pizzeria [~ENY~]