Man says family stole his business

By John O'Brien | Nov 2, 2006

WHEELING - An Ohio man says his son and grandson to his tent and awning company from him while he was in the hospital with cancer.

George Fatula, doing business as Wheeling Tent and Awning, filed his lawsuit Oct. 31 in Ohio Circuit Court against Rusty and Ashton Fatula and John Does 1-10.

George says he was in the hospital Sept. 29-Oct. 4 when, "While in the hospital, Russell and Ashton Fatula and an unknown party claiming to be a lawyer presented a document to the plaintiff... purporting to be a document that would enable Wheeling Tent and Awning to negotiate payroll checks for the employees.

"Defendants collectively made numerous misleading, false and inaccurate statements and representations to the plaintiff regarding the use of a company signature stamp to be used for the sole and exclusive purpose of executing outstanding payroll checks for the employees."

George adds that the defendants forged his signature to transfer his property to themselves, and he has since filed a Notice of Lis Pendens.

"Defendant Russell Fatula took approimately $2,000 cash from Kim Dempewolf for the purchase of awnings and shades to be made by the plaintiff Wheeling Tent and Awning," the complaint says. "It is not known where Defendant Russell Fatula deposited this money as the plaintiffs have no record of the same in their business accounts."

George says he has owned the business since 1954 and charges the defendants with fraud, theft and negligence.

He seeks compensatory and punitive damages, an injunction against the defendants to stop the creation of any debts and a hearing to transfer the property back to him.

Mark Blevins of Ohio Valley Law Center in Wheeling is representing the plaintiff.

Judge James Mazzone has been assigned the case.

Ohio Circuit Court case number 06-C-400

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