No plans for law on franchising Churley says

Consumer Minister Marilyn Churley says she has no immediate plans to introduce legislation to protect franchisees in the aftermath of revelations about the troubled Pizza Pizza chain… Toronto-born Austin was called one of Florida’s most prolific white-collar criminals when he was imprisoned in 1986 for multi-million-dollar gem, credit card and timeshare condominium frauds. As company owner Michael Overs’ right-hand man since being paroled in 1989, Austin calls most of the shots.

The Toronto Star
May 5, 1993

No plans for law on franchising Churley says
Tony Van Alphen

PizzaPizzaNoPlans.jpg

ANGRY OWNERS: Pizza Pizza outlet owners meet last night at a Mississauga hotel. They want company vice-president Lorn Austin dismissed.

Consumer Minister Marilyn Churley says she has no immediate plans to introduce legislation to protect franchisees in the aftermath of revelations about the troubled Pizza Pizza chain.

A senior aide to Churley said yesterday the minister will continue to monitor the franchise industry for abuses, but recent reports in The Star won’t prompt any specific action.

“There’s no change in our position and the minister won’t comment on the stories,” said Peggy Saddler, a special assistant to Churley.

The Star reported earlier this week that Lorn Austin, a convicted con man and racketeer with a string of bankruptcies in his past, is Pizza Pizza executive vice-president and helps oversee trust accounts worth millions of dollars.

About 70 disgruntled Pizza Pizza franchise owners yesterday called for Austin’s firing, saying they’ve lost confidence in him.

Toronto-born Austin was called one of Florida’s most prolific white-collar criminals when he was imprisoned in 1986 for multi-million-dollar gem, credit card and timeshare condominium frauds.

As company owner Michael Overs’ right-hand man since being paroled in 1989, Austin calls most of the shots.

Pizza Pizza franchisees in the 250-store chain want an accounting of funds controlled by Austin.

Several franchisees also complained about unfair treatment by head office.

Overs has called the reports “blatantly false and irresponsible.”

The company will take every action to dispute the charges and plans a libel lawsuit, he added in a statement.

Neither Overs nor Austin granted request is by The Star to be interviewed before publication of the first story in The Sunday Star.

After last night’s three-hour closed-door meeting at a Mississauga hotel, about 70 franchisees emerged calling for the dismissal of Austin.

“There’s unanimous agreement from the people at this meeting that there’s no room for him to be in this company,” said Dave Michael, owner of a Pizza Pizza store in Orillia and spokesperson for the grou


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