Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A firestorm has erupted within a century old Central New York business with claims that the CEO of Hofmann Sausage started to run the company as his personal slush fund.
A group of investors, including Jim Boeheim and the Oneida Nation, is suing to stop Frank Zaccannelli immediately from doing any more business running the company.
Claims that Zaccannelli used company money to support his young mistress is one of the reasons former Syracuse Police Chief and SU basketball great Dennis Duval quit the company, according to court papers.
Less than a year ago, Duval, newly appointed head of Northeast operations for the company, stood with investors for the announcement of a new company to take over the hot dog maker and expand it nationally. The group of all-star investors poured millions into the company, which would be headed by Syracuse native Frank Zaccannelli.
Duval says in court papers that after only four months he resigned because “Zaccannelli’s orders to me became increasingly delusional…and I resigned to avoid carrying out directives that I found to be morally repugnant.”
Duval also states that Zaccannelli told him just a month before that that he was involved in a romantic relationship with Megan Lucas. Several top company officials state in affidavits that Zaccannelli met Lucas when she worked as a hostess at a Dallas-area restaurant and was then hired as a consultant for marketing Hofmann’s products on social media sites. Her total compensation: $100,000 annually, even though there was no contract or documentation to support her fees.
The suit claims Zaccannelli ordered Hofmann employees to back date a health insurance application for Lucas so she would be eligible under Hofmann’s plan. But that’s not all, two top company officials say clearly improper charges appeared on Zaccannelli’s corporate credit card for things like women’s clothing, jewelry and night club charges.
The plaintiffs say they have the right and have voted to oust Zaccannelli, but without court approval it couldn’t happen for 90 days. They’re asking the court to step in and stop him immediately from doing anything else as CEO of Hofmann’s. They also want to appoint Rusty Flook as interim CEO. Flook just gave up running the family business when the sale happened last year.