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Touch of Italy ownership settled

Lawsuit challenges compensation
May 18, 2018

Ownership of Touch of Italy is no longer in dispute, litigants say.

The venture is 100 percent owned by Robert Ciprietti, and he said the business will carry on as it had before.

However, a lawsuit filed by former partners is moving forward; the issue has moved from company ownership to compensation.

“It’s about money at this point,” Ciprietti said.

David Weidman, attorney for former investor Lawrence Pack, said he could not comment on the case. Weidman has filed an amendment to the original motion with additional claims against Ciprietti, which keeps the case alive, but ownership of Touch of Italy is no longer in question.

“It’s over and done with,” Ciprietti said. “Touch of Italy is out of it. If they want to bring me into it and continue, then come on. They’ve accused me of significant items. They’ve questioned my integrity and I promise you, we will litigate this to the end.”

Ciprietti said he thinks the case is being kept alive so that he’ll make his former partners an offer to go away.

The Touch of Italy case dates back to January when legal action was filed by Pack, operating as Delmarva Tennis Packages, and Michael Berardinelli, former minority partners in Touch of Italy’s Lewes and Rehoboth locations and the bakery at Villages of Five Points.

Ciprietti said the minority partners didn’t like the direction the company was going in. They then seized on part of the operating agreement that stated the company would dissolve if partners walked out. The former partners took their case to court after Ciprietti said they declined a proposed exit package. Ciprietti said he could not disclose how much Pack and Berardinelli had been offered.

Stanley Mastil was appointed, at Pack and Berardinelli’s request, as receiver for the dissolution of the companies. An auction was scheduled; Ciprietti’s Farindola LLC was the sole bidder and offered the winning bid. Pack and Berardinelli’s attorneys disputed the sale in legal filings, seeking an expedited proceeding and a hearing for interim relief. That motion was denied by Delaware Court of Chancery Judge J. Travis Laster.