Giordano’s filed for bankruptcy back in February, blaming the decision on some unfortunate real estate deals. That may have been the case, but the story has taken a series of strange twists since then. In May the courts assigned Philip Martino as the Chapter 11 trustee for the company, which the Wall Street Journal interpreted as a public firing of Giordano’s president, John Apostolou. Instead, of stepping aside, Apostolou has fought back in increasingly bizarre ways, including using the services of a man tied to an anti-government group called “sovereign citizens.”
To help get the company back, Apostolou filed documents that attempted to “terminate the bankruptcy, alleging fraud and other misdeeds.” Those documents also included an affidavit that claimed that he and his wife do not “recognize U.S. currency and are free of any legal constraints.” The Tribune described the document as “incoherent,” but a specialist was brought in to inspect it. J.J. MacNab, an insurance analyst who has studied anti-government groups, then identified much of the language as similar to the “sovereign citizens,” a group which, among other things, don’t believe that “courts have jurisdiction over them.”
The document was written by Marshall Home, a friend of Apostolou, who was brought in to help with Giordano’s bankruptcy. Instead of following the laws, it seems like he convinced Apostolou that he could get out of everything. This isn’t the first crazy court case for Home, who recently filed a petition in Arizona to “declare the state of Arizona and U.S. government bankrupt.” Home, for his part, believes that he’ll ultimately win, and that he’ll then get control of Giordano’s.
There is so much crazy here it’s easy to get lost in the flurry of details. That said, for some reason we still feel particularly sad for Apostolou. He immigrated to Chicago from Greece when he was 17, and started off at a Giordano’s in 1979 as a cook. It took him years to work his way up, and it seems like that all got derailed by this one guy.
Giordano’s strange journey in bankruptcy [Chicago Tribune]