War and Pizza

…a franchisee in Hamilton, recalls that a uniformed company rep came to visit her husband's hospital room while he was dying of colon cancer at the age of 38. During the last four days of her husband's life, she says, the rep would even call her at home and remind her of the store's o/b. "[The rep] knew things were bad," she says.

Canadian Business magazine
November 1995

War and Pizza
John Lorinc

In the good years, Pizza Pizza franchise stores made their owners lots of money. But as sales dropped, head office started squeezing. That was its first mistake.

On the evening of Jan. 11, 1993, a Monday, Darlene Thiele got a telephone call from her business partner, Aileen Collins, who wanted to pass along some worrisome news about the two Pizza Pizza Ltd. franchises they owned in Oshawa, Ont. Collins had just heard from Sebastien Fuschini, the company's director of franchising, who was "freaking out" over the amount of money they owed the well-known Toronto-based pizza chain.

Thiele wasn't all that surprised. Two months earlier, she had met with a few of Pizza Pizza's head office managers, who told her she needed to improve her store's financial record and suggested she begin working in the outlet full-time to cut labour costs. In the following weeks, she received more hints that the company was preparing to terminate her agreement. In fact, just that day she and Collins had spoken with Fuschini to discuss their $28,000 outstanding balance (or "o/b," as such running tabs are known at the company), and Thiele had come away fearful that her stores were on the verge of being taken back.

Given Fuschini's alarming call, it seemed clear that something should be done, and Thiele moved quickly. She dropped her kids off at her parents' place, rounded up a few sleeping bags and hired a locksmith to change the locks on her store. That evening, Thiele bedded down in the $210,000 pizza franchise she'd bought in December 1988.

The next day Thiele's store was scheduled to prepare pizzas for a luncheon at a local school. But 10 minutes after the cook arrived in the morning, Thiele heard her call out, "They're here!" Thiele rushed to the door and saw four police officers accompanying a pair of Pizza Pizza managers who were standing outside, shouting and trying to get in. She had just found out from Collins that Pizza Pizza representatives and the police were at the other franchise as well. Thiele immediately called her lawyer, who assured her that this was not a police matter. When she went back to the front door, she yelled that the company would have to take her to court if they wanted her out.

Soon after, Pizza Pizza's lawyers filed a lawsuit against Thiele's company, alleging breach of the franchise agreement and trademark infringement. News of the stand off spread rapidly. Thiele fielded dozens of calls from reporters, supporters, local business people and, notably, other Pizza Pizza franchisees, a number of whom had had their own run-ins with the chain. Friends offered to sleep at the store and, when Pizza Pizza cut off Thiele's food supplies, other franchisees said they would surreptitiously order a little extra food for her.

Throughout the spring, either Thiele or someone she knew slept in the store every night. Finally, in mid-May, a court ordered Pizza Pizza to put Thiele back on line and reinstate deliveries. Her long, contentious court case with the company dragged on for more than two years. "Since all this happened," she says, "every week is a battle."

Thiele's fight was but one episode in a much more complicated sequence of events that has embroiled the chain in controversy. Pizza Pizza - he dean of pizza delivery franchises - found itself caught up in a lengthy labour-relations conflict and then a knock-down-drag-out legal brawl with a group of upset franchisees, many of whom had had their own rough encounters with the chain. The steady stream of revelations about Pizza Pizza's tactics thrust all of Canadian franchising under a microscope. Indeed, for an industry in which reputation is the most bankable asset of all, the Pizza Pizza saga has been a source of unrelieved frustration and embarrassment. The litigious legacy of the Pizza Pizza controversy will haunt Canadian franchising for years to come.

Pizza Pizza traces its beginnings to 1968, when Michael Overs opened a take-out pizza joint at the southwest corner of Wellesley and Parliament streets, an inner-city intersection a few blocks east of Toronto's downtown core. A former sales and marketing employee for Pillsbury Canada Ltd., Overs bad worked in a pizza parlor briefly before deciding to open his own.

Showing an early inclination for marketing, Overs soon had enough business to open a second outlet, which required him to spend a lot of time away from his first store. That posed a problem: if he was out, Overs had no way of knowing how much business the store had done. To solve the dilemma, he rented the apartment above the store for his mother, who would take calls, keep track of sales and then slip orders through a crack in the floorboards to the cook below. "It was based on control," says David Snutch, a former Pizza Pizza executive.

During the early 1980s, Pizza Pizza blossomed into the powerhouse of pizza franchises in a market then dominated by mom-and-pop pizza parlors. In 1977 Overs had picked up an old Eaton's catalogue ordering system, which went into service in 1980 as Pizza Pizza's famous one-number order line: 967-11-11. The number itself became an omnipresent commercial for the chain, as the PizzaPizza jingle lodged itself in the minds of teenagers throughout the city. For years, according to local legend, border officials at Niagara Falls asked for the number to determine if a traveler claiming to live in Toronto was telling the truth.

The computerized telephone system provided the company with an extraordinary degree of dominance over the franchisees' operations. The reasons aren't hard to fathom. Owning a pizza delivery joint is not an easy business: the hours are long, the staff turnover-drivers, cooks-is high and, consequently, the temptation to cut corners is great. Or at least that's what Overs suspected.

Indeed, the company went to great lengths to make sure franchisees weren't cheating on their royalties or shortchanging the customers on quality. Quality control was paramount. Pizza Pizza reps would drop by regularly to make sure franchisees were turning out regulation pizzas and keeping the premises clean. The company trained franchisees to prepare three pizzas in seven minutes, and to ensure that the appropriate amount of toppings made it onto the product. Cardboard trays for single slices were introduced because they were easier to keep track of.

In the late 1980s the going rate for a Pizza Pizza outlet was about 30% of its gross revenues, or about $150,000 to $250,000. Nevertheless, Pizza Pizza had little trouble attracting new franchisees at the time because the chain commanded about 50% of the franchised pizza takeout business in the Toronto area by 1987. One franchisee recalls that when her husband bought a store in 1988, they figured, typically, that they "could make a small fortune and get out." Pizza franchises were in especially high demand among recent immigrants or people in their 20s whose parents cofinanced such investments. Some franchisees invested in a second or third outlet and stopped working in their stores full-time. Others encouraged children or friends to purchase franchises. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the chain's bankers, further encouraged the sales machine. "This is the Cadillac of franchising," one franchisee was told when he went to get a

The centrepiece of Pizza Pizza's administrative system was its so-called "pooled" funds, managed by the company to pay for expenses associated with running the chain. The franchisees paid fees for advertising, the telephone ordering system, the commissary and deliveries. Then, using a system of joint bank accounts, Pizza Pizza made-electronic withdrawals twice a week and sent statements to franchisees that outlined their weekly expenses and revenues. Overs was, in fact, the first franchisor to devise the idea of a rental pool, which he introduced in 1980. The system - coupled with the company's lopsided franchise agreements and policies such as fines for various transgressions, including smoking in the kitchen or out-of-uniform employees - provided Pizza Pizza with plenty of influence over the franchisees' operations. "We built a system based on absolute control, thinking it would be used to catch franchisees who were ripping off the company," says Snutch. Over time, he adds, it was "used to demand more of everybody. I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back."

In 1986 a new chain turned up, and brought with it a clever marketing gimmick: the two-for-one deal. Using an easy-to-remember phone number (241-0241) and what looked to be a 50% discount, 2-4-1 Pizza started small but quickly gathered momentum. By 1990, the two franchises were going head-to-head in the Toronto area.

In better economic times, Pizza Pizza franchise owners were more willing to endure long hours and the company's tough tactics. "Because they were making money until the late 1980s, no one was complaining," says one franchisee. Annual revenues ranged from $450,000 to $800,000, and the break-even point was about $12,000 per week. But the franchisees who bought their stores in the late 1980s missed out on the boom times that had generated tidy sums for earlier Pizza Pizza owners. Rather, they bought expensive franchises and soon watched sales slip in the economic downturn.

The savage competition didn't come at an auspicious moment for Pizza Pizza's head office either. A planned expansion into Montreal had hit bottom, leaving the company in a serious financial bind. Real estate had also become a vexing problem, mostly because of expensive leases signed during the late 1980s. Indeed, in 1990, according to sworn statements by Pizza Pizza officials, the company embarked on a campaign to renegotiate many of those costly leases. While the hard-driving company managed to negotiate real savings, franchisees contributing to the Toronto real estate pool saw their sales drop an average of 22% between 1989 and 1993.

In 1992 some Pizza Pizza owners formed the Southern Ontario Pizza Franchisee Association, or SOPFA, as it came to be known. (It was not the first time Pizza Pizza owners had tried banding together. In 1989 a franchisee had held a meeting for other owners in a downtown Toronto hotel. Those who attended were called onto the carpet at head office.) Early SOPFA meetings, says one attendee, were like "therapy sessions." Since the life of a franchisee can be surprisingly solitary, for many the long hours and diminishing financial rewards created all sorts of personal and health problems. So there was plenty to talk about - although most of the chain's immigrant franchisees preferred to keep quiet. Many of the owners, says one attendee, Dave Michael, soon began "sounding off" and grew bolder with the knowledge that they weren't alone in their struggles.

Michael and another owner, Tony Fammartino, emerged early on as leaders and spokesmen. The two made an odd pair. Constantly fielding calls on his cellular phone, Michael is forthright, watchful and stocky. A former Consumers Distributing Inc. sales manager, he bought his first Pizza Pizza outlet in 1983 and opened a second in Orillia, Ont., in 1991. Michael's problems with the company went back a few years, to the time head office had cut his first store's territory in half; he says it took the outlet two years to get back to its former revenue level. Later, he had to shell out $100,000 for renovations he didn't feel were necessary. Michael also began to wonder whether Pizza Pizza was marking up its food supplies by more than the 18% figure set out in the contract.

By contrast, Fammartino is wiry, scrappy and outspoken. He'd worked for Burger King before he joined a partner at a Pizza Pizza franchise in 1988, with plans to eventually buy five stores. Although Fammartino had written on his franchisee application that he anticipated there would be "no problem being a successful operator," he soon became uncomfortable with Pizza Pizza's automatic withdrawal system. As a manager at a Burger King outlet, he'd done all the accounting. With Pizza Pizza, head office simply told franchisees what their sales were. "I would go crazy trying to balance things," says Fammartino.

Both men draw from deep reserves of tenacity, which they would need in the months to come. Early in December 1992, a few SOPFA directors met with company executives at Pizza Pizza's Jarvis Street offices in Toronto and came away with a promise from Overs that they could inspect some of Pizza Pizza's books. On the afternoon of Dec. 22, Michael, Fammartino and their respective accountants arrived at Pizza Pizza's headquarters to inspect the financial statements for the various pooled funds.

It was to be a testy and unsatisfying session. Pizza Pizza officials were surprised to see the accountants. Michael was told he would only be able to review invoices, and then only in the presence of the department manager. Michael and Fammartino were told that Pizza Pizza was not obliged to open the company's books for franchisees to inspect.

Suddenly, in the middle of the meeting, something strange happened: Fuschini, who was also there, "asked [Fammartino] if he knew his franchise was not [being] renewed," according to minutes of the meeting filed with Fammartino's affidavit. Fammartino wanted to renew, but now Fuschini pulled out a dossier and "indicated that renewal would be subject to what [Fammartino's] intentions were." Fourteen days later, about the time a follow-up session had been scheduled, Fammartino received a letter from Fuschini alleging that he had breached the franchise agreement by failing to notify the company of his intention to renew six months in advance: "The requirements for renewal have not been met." Later on, Fammartino alleged that he wasn't being renewed because of his involvement with SOPFA; Pizza Pizza countered that the decision had nothing to do with SOPFA. Rather, the company deemed his performance to be "inconsistent." The date on the notice was Jan. 6, 1993-less than a week before Thiele began the watch over her Pizza Pizza franchise in Oshawa.

The media accounts of Thiele's vigil set in motion a dramatic sequence of events that rapidly transformed the situation at Pizza Pizza from a slow boil into a full-fledged eruption. On Jan. 19, 1993, about 80 franchisees turned out for a galvanizing three-hour SOPFA meeting at a Mississauga, Ont., hotel "to discuss common concerns," according to court documents. Pizza Pizza "was not in the least bit supportive of this association," Michael alleges in an affidavit. Pizza Pizza later denied that it had done anything to obstruct SOPFA.

In fact, Pizza Pizza's executive vice-president, Lorn Austin, turned up at the hotel. Austin, whom the company brought on board in 1989 to run Pizza Pizza's operations, had a reputation at head office as a tough taskmaster. The franchisees asked the hotel to turn him away, but Austin had booked a room so he could remain on the premises.

Another man who was to figure hugely in the ensuing legal free-for-all was John Sotos, who attended SOPFA meetings on Michael s recommendation. A lawyer with 14 years' experience, Sotos is described as "a crusader" by one of the very few commercial lawyers who make a practice of working the franchisee side of the street. "Most franchisees walk away and die, feeling humiliated, taken advantage of and helpless," Sotos says, sitting stiffly one morning in the boardroom of his downtown Toronto office. When asked to characterize the franchisor/franchisee relationship in general, he replies: "It's basically beyond the master/slave relationship."

Using the courts to fight back, Sotos adds, is a nonstarter because franchisors always have the legal and financial resources to outlast half-broke franchise owners. "Litigation is not for the franchisee," he says. Ironically, though, litigation is precisely how Sotos and the Pizza Pizza franchisees proceeded in their mounting feud with the company. On Feb. 26, 1993, Sotos filed a motion in an Ontario court on behalf of 17 franchisees, demanding that Pizza Pizza comply with the terms of its franchise agreements and produce financial statements for all the pooled funds. The $7.5-million lawsuit also asked for an injunction restraining Pizza Pizza from interfering in the normal operations of the plaintiffs, terminating franchise agreements without cause and debiting franchisees' bank accounts for any money in excess of what was specified in the contract.

The affidavits filed with the court - eventually 49 out of about 250 franchisees joined the case - allege a grim record of declining sales, financial hardship, family breakups and harassment from some Pizza Pizza managers. All franchisees alleged that their rents had been increased to 10% of gross store revenues from 5.5% during recent years, and then described other hard-to-understand deductions for real estate, renovations and phone charges. Many claimed they had not received legal advice prior to buying their franchises, and alleged that the sales projections had been overstated. A theme running through the affidavits is the conduct of some Pizza Pizza managers. A number mentioned they were being harassed to pay off their o/b accounts or face termination. Others claimed that they were pressured not to join SOPFA.

In later interviews, some franchisees recounted high-handed treatment they'd received at the hands of company managers. For instance, Ursula Khattab, a franchisee in Hamilton, recalls that a uniformed company rep came to visit her husband's hospital room while he was dying of colon cancer at the age of 38. Unmoved by the rep's condolences, she found those visits "very distressing." During the last four days of her husband's life, she says, the rep would even call her at home and remind her of the store's o/b. "[The rep] knew things were bad," she says.

Pizza Pizza replied some months later. In an extensive 276-page affidavit, Fuschini countered the allegations advanced by the franchisees. Pointing out that the litigants owed the company more than $120,000, Fuschini stated that poor sales performances reflected the recession, competition and the franchisees' failure to adhere to operating standards. He rejected many of the claims that the franchisees had not obtained legal advice prior to purchasing their outlets, and alleged that some owners themselves had inflated sales estimates when they resold their stores. Citing "visitation logs" compiled by company managers, he claimed that a number of the litigant franchisees did not work as hard as they had stated in their sworn statements. As for the allegations of harassment, Pizza Pizza, he asserted, "has not conducted a campaign to intimidate" the franchisees.

Then, on the morning of May 2, 1993, the Pizza Pizza case blasted into another realm altogether. That day, readers of The Toronto Star opened their newspapers to discover a sensational expose of Austin's career as a convicted fraud artist. The article contained a detailed account of the Pizza Pizza executive vice-president's past business exploits, which ranged from being a used-car dealer to a self-styled franchise consultant, newspaper publisher and gem peddler. He had speculated in time-share
condos in Florida and a scheme involving the resale of Canadian lottery tickets. Failed investments and questionable bankruptcies followed Austin around like thunderclouds, but the Stars most intriguing discovery involved his Florida convictions for "cheque-kiting schemes," for which he served three years in jail. "He was one of the most prolific white-collar criminals I have prosecuted in my career," the Star quoted Kent Neal, a Florida prosecutor, as saying. Upon his release in 1989, Austin moved to Toronto and soon joined Pizza Pizza.

It's not clear how widely Austin's reputation was known within the company. One person who did know about Austin's past, however, was Overs, as court documents filed with a $32.5-million libel action against the Star reveal: "[T]he plaintiff Overs hired Lorn Austin knowing of his criminal past, knowing that he had served a criminal sentence and had learned his lesson and been rehabilitated."

Austin himself tried to still the groundswell of outrage by sending around a memo apologizing for "any difficulties you may have experienced" as a result of the stories. Pizza Pizza followed with a tightly worded statement that Austin had "contributed to the success of the company" and thus there was "no reason to sever" ties. Three hours before Overs made the statement, dozens of owners had turned up at head office on May 10 for an angry demonstration. Franchisees-some carrying placards festooned with the mug shot of Austin published in the Star, others dressed in prison garb or gorilla suits- picketed the company's headquarters, whose front doors had been locked for security reasons.

Off the front page, however, James Farley, the judge hearing the original motions in the lawsuit, was not pleased with the way this case was unfolding. From where he sat, the situation involved complex but nonetheless commercial disagreements between franchisees and a licensing company. And he made it clear he thought that such matters should be resolved before having to end up in court.

By late spring, the two sides, at the suggestion of the Canadian Franchise Association, turned the matter over to an arbitrator. That meant Pizza Pizza had to open its books-something Sotos had demanded a few months earlier. The franchisees retained the forensic accounting firm Lindquist Avey Macdonald Baskerville to comb through the company's records and the financial statements for the various pooled funds.

For four weeks in June, the Lindquist team scoured Pizza Pizza's accounting system. When it finally delivered its report to its franchisee clients, the results seemed revealing. Despite the fact that fees had been collected for a variety of pooled funds, Lindquist's auditors found that the money all ended up in one general ledger account. (The company stated that it had already changed the management of one pool and was in the process of separating out another one.) Lindquist also discovered some stores where inventory levels registered on a company computer system had been elevated, thus allowing .Pizza Pizza to withdraw more royalties. Company officials maintained that such adjustments were to compensate for unreported sales by franchisees. The report also noted hundreds of thousands of dollars withdrawn from the advertising pool for complimentary cards, free trips for franchisees to company conventions and executive compensation (including more than $400,000 to Austin). Because of the company's payment strategy - the practice of withdrawing money from owner bank accounts to cover the cost of supplies, but not paying suppliers until 20 to 80 days later - head office earned more than $2.7 million in interest. All in all, the Lindquist team couldn't account for $8.5 million in the various pooled accounts.

As the summer wore on, relations between the litigant franchisees and head office remained, at best, brittle and, more typically, openly antagonistic. Stern warnings were dispatched over the slightest deviation from the franchise agreement. One franchisee who was pregnant was ordered to clean her store from top to bottom by a rep who found it insufficiently clean. The practice of changing the locks of a freshly terminated owner - one favoured by many franchisors, at least until they run into legal opposition - ended abruptly, says one franchisee.

The litigants, as well, found themselves on the receiving end of an old and reliable legal tactic-one that seems to be a favourite of franchise lawyers in particular: "They swamped our lawyer with paperwork," Fammartino says. Michael, being one of the most visible litigant franchisees, appeared to be subject to special treatment. Not long after the suit was filed, the Pizza Pizza jeep he drove was repossessed in the middle of the night. Area reps would scrutinize his stores, and anything that was out of place ended up first on a store report and then in a legal file. At one point, Michael was deluged with letters over an apparent glitch in his store's computer. "They fined me for it one week, and I told them to shove it up their ass," Michael says. It turned out the bug was in the head office system.

After months of procedural wrangling, the arbitration hearings finally began on Jan. 3, 1994, in a hearing room at retired Ontario Supreme Court Justice Richard Holland's downtown law office. For the next four months, dozens of witnesses appeared before Holland, presenting unadorned, emotional testimony about their experiences with the chain. The witnesses included franchise experts, who put forward their opinions on Pizza Pizza's accounting methods and its franchise agreement. Holland also heard from the company, including reclusive Pizza Pizza founder Mike Overs and his controversial executive vice-president, Lorn Austin.

Early in April 1994, Holland handed down an interim decision that supported some of the franchisees' claims, but didn't go nearly as far as they had hoped. He said Pizza Pizza shouldn't have hiked the rents above what was set out in the contract, and determined that some of the volume rebates received from Pizza Pizza's suppliers and "advertising allowances" should be credited to the franchisees or the pooled funds. The pools, he noted, "are trust funds in that the funds are not for [the company's] discretionary use." On the other hand, Holland dismissed the franchisees' damage claims for negligent misrepresentation, wrongful termination and misallocation of certain advertising or delivery expenses. Furthermore, Holland rejected several of the conclusions set out in the Lindquist audit conducted on behalf of the franchisees.

Pizza Pizza, Holland concluded in his final report, owed the franchisees $821,495, plus interest, and a portion of legal fees, but he noted that "the conduct of Pizza Pizza Ltd. and Mr. Overs was thoroughly investigated and it is clear that PPL and Mr. Overs are not guilty of any fraudulent conduct." However, Holland made it clear he disapproved of the way the whole drama had unfolded-on both sides.

The next year Pizza Pizza came forward with a series of buyout offers. According to Khattab, one offer had the company giving the franchisees six months to sell their stores; after that time, those that hadn't been divested would be taken back. A second proposal involved Pizza Pizza offering to buy back franchisees' stores for 26% of the outlet's annual revenues. The franchisees held out for 30%, a figure that was closer to the standard market value of a Pizza Pizza outlet from previous years. It was the
autumn of 1994, and Pizza Pizza was threatening to appeal Holland's award, which meant the franchisees would face the prospect of extending an already lengthy legal battle. A motion to appeal the appeal was turned aside the next spring. Pizza Pizza finally paid out the award settlement in July 1995.

In the end, more than one-third of the franchisees involved in the lawsuit were terminated or bought out, including several of the SOPFA organizers (such as Fammartino). Michael lost his store early in 1995 and now works in a Pizzaville franchise owned by his wife. SOPFA faded away as the members of a group initially bound together by financial hardship began to argue among themselves over the disbursement of Holland's award.

Some franchisees, such as Fuk Tay Tile, simply wanted to sell their businesses and get on with their lives. Tjie's outlet was in Scarborough, Ont., tucked away in the elbow of the Village Square mall on Finch Avenue. Tjie looks older than his 32 years and, as he relates his experiences, the reasons become obvious. Tjie came to Canada from Indonesia in 1985 as an investor-stream immigrant. In 1989 he bought a Pizza Pizza franchise on the strength of the name. It cost him $250,000.

Over the years, he rode out a reduction in his territory and watched his marriage collapse because of the long hours required to run the store. Tjie ran afoul of the company when he was caught with the sensational Toronto Star exposes pinned up on the wall of his franchise. "They gave me a hard time," he says, and he eventually took them down. When Tjie decided he wanted to sell the store back to the chain, he asked for $48,000-the amount left on his mortgage-plus the $27,000 tab Pizza Pizza said he owed. The company counter offered $42,000, and there was no deal. Negotiations broke off; Tjie stopped making royalty payments. With that, his store was removed from the ordering system. He laid off his drivers and his cooks, then waited for the company to turn up and change the locks.

Tjie, now an ex-franchisee, feels he's been treated "like an animal, not a human being." Looking around at the chain, he realizes that "everybody [was] cheating the company" to make ends meet. Says Tjie, staring at his hands: "I'm fed up with the system, the company. This is a very bad experience since I came to Canada."

Ultimately, the Pizza Pizza franchisees' victory was a Pyrrhic one. Working within a system devised by the toughest operator in the business, they were justified in some of their complaints - a good number of which arose from their franchisor's often suspicious or heavy-handed management style. And there is festering doubt about whether this dispute ever should have become a lawsuit. Sotos has said that litigation is not for the franchisee, and yet he orchestrated the single most extensive franchisee-led lawsuit in the ever more turbulent history of Canadian franchising. Prepared to fight tooth and nail, Overs threw millions of dollars toward quashing an insurrection - even if it had been largely caused by the company's own actions. All the money that ended up in lawyers' pockets would have made a very attractive buyout offer.

A few of the litigants continue to fight lawsuits with the chain. Others stay on reluctantly. "If someone came along with a reasonable offer, I'd be done," says one franchisee. "I'd love to be out of this."

Risks: Dave Michael & Tony Fammartino, Lorn Austin, Lorne Austin, Lawrence Austin, John Lorinc, Termination threats, Police intervention, Mask of respectability, Broken relationships, ruined lives and alienated children, Renewal/refusal to renew, Indentured servants, Justice only for the rich, Futility of taking legal action, Media is sued, Convicted fraud artist, Dissident leaders, Immigrants as prey, Health consequences, Centralized order taking system, Pooled money, Bank account access by franchisor, De-humanization, Cheque-kiting, Without conscience, National press coverage, Canada, 19951101 War and Pizza

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