CHARLESTON – Charleston restaurateur Joe Fazio has filed a lawsuit against one of his sons after he claims he defrauded him into signing over 6,000 shares of stock in Joe Fazio's Restaurant.
In 2009, Joe Fazio and Nell Fazio had wills prepared and created inter vivos trusts, according to a complaint filed Nov. 30 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Nell Fazio died on Sept. 9, 2010, and Danny Fazio was appointed executor of her estate and successor trustee of the Nell J. Fazio Revocable Trust-2009.
Joe Fazio claims shortly after his wife's death, Danny Fazio began pressuring him to give him control of the restaurant.
After Nell Fazio's death, Danny Fazio asked his father to produce his stock certificates, which he could no produce, so Danny Fazio insisted that he have a new certificate issued and had an attorney prepare an Affidavit of Lost Certificate for Joe Fazio to sign, according to the suit.
On Dec. 10, 2010, Joe Fazio claims he executed the affidavit that he was the legal and beneficial owner of 6,000 shares of stock in Joe Fazio's Restaurant, Inc.
On Jan. 3, 2011, Danny Fazio took Joe Fazio to a meeting at the offices of the accountants for the restaurant and during the meeting, discussions were had regarding Nell Fazio's estate and the disposition of proceeds from the sale of a vehicle that had been owned by Nell Fazio, according to the suit.
Joe Fazio claims during the meeting Danny Fazio produced a variety of documents which he induced him to sign and which he did sign upon belief that they were related to the administration of his late wife's estate.
One of the documents Joe Fazio was induced to sign was a new stock certificate for his 6,000 shares of stock in Joe Fazio's Restaurant and a Deed of Gift for Stock Interest, purporting to give Joe Fazio's 6,000 shares f stock to Danny Fazio in exchange for no consideration or value whatsoever, according to the suit.
Joe Fazio claims it was never his intent to give, donate or otherwise transfer his shares in the restaurant to his son during his lifetime.
Due to the fraudulent representations made by Danny Fazio, Joe Fazio was fraudulently induced to execute documentation by which he was divested of his ownership of his shares of stock of Joe Fazio's Restaurant, Inc., despite his intention to leave his shares of stock of the corporation to his children upon his death, according to the suit.
Joe Fazio is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by M. David Griffith Jr. and David K. Higgins.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-2120