Shop owner says she's takeover target

"Dunkin' Donuts has sued franchise owners 154 times since 2006 - a far cry from McDonald's five lawsuits against owners and Subway's 12 lawsuits…and for anyone to suggest that we take legal action against our franchisees with the intent to make a profit on the resale of that business is both wrong and irresponsible,"…

Daily News Brooklyn
April 22, 2008

Shop owner says she's takeover target

Jotham Sederstrom

Cindy Gluck says 'The Greek' is eying her two Dunkin' Donuts stores.

Known simply as "The Greek," Konstantino Skrivanos already owns a baker's dozen Dunkin' Donuts locations in Brooklyn, and more than 100 locations along the East Coast, a lawyer for one local store owner claims.

Cindy Gluck, a franchisee who owns Dunkin' Donuts stores in Park Slope and Flatbush, said she was given an option of either facing a costly lawsuit or selling her stores at a financial loss to Skrivanos.

"Dunkin' Donuts' desire to consolidate its franchises under a single, large, multistory franchisee is anathema to the hardworking, mom-and-pop business owner in Brooklyn," said David Jaroslawicz, a lawyer for Gluck, who said the chain is aiming to put most of the borough's 92 stores in Skrivanos' hands.

"This greed-driven process threatens to eliminate the last vestiges of small business in the city's largest borough," added Jaroslawicz, who believes franchise owners have been sued by Dunkin' Donuts for minor infractions in order to free up stores for trusted investors like Skrivanos to take over.

Dunkin' Donuts has sued franchise owners 154 times since 2006 - a far cry from McDonald's five lawsuits against owners and Subway's 12 lawsuits, said Jaroslawicz.

"They've got a deal, I'm told, that anybody who is forced to sell in Brooklyn will be forced to sell to 'The Greek'," said Jaroslawicz.

The problems for Gluck began last year, after she informed Dunkin' Donuts brass she wanted to sell 15% of her and co-owner Sam Habib's two stores to one of their store managers.

But corporate brass sued, claiming Gluck violated contract provisions barring her from selling the franchise without corporate consent - even though no deal had even been inked.

"I have four children, and I'm the sole breadwinner of my family," said Gluck, who bought the stores in 2005 and is in an ongoing legal feud with the doughnut company.

"I saw Dunkin' Donuts as a stability for my family, but this has ended up being a nightmare, and now I just want to get out of the business and break even."

Skrivanos could not be reached for comment, but when asked about the mysterious businessman - who owns stores in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Midwood and Sunset Park - a Dunkin' Donuts spokeswoman declined to comment on takeover plans.

"I am not able to provide information on Mr. Skrivanos or his alleged expansion plans," said the spokeswoman.

Another corporate spokesman, Stephen Caldeira, insisted the legal action again Gluck and other franchisees was justified.

"Dunkin' Brands conducts its business with uncompromising integrity, and for anyone to suggest that we take legal action against our franchisees with the intent to make a profit on the resale of that business is both wrong and irresponsible," said Caldeira in a statement.


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