Stringz & Wingz Owner "Chef" Bill Thompson said he plans to give up ownership of the restaurant and entertainment venue at Streetsboro Plaza, effective Jan. 15.
Plans are for minority partners Steve Mathis and Robert Kale, as well as General Manager Kyle Kendrick, to take over the business, according to a Jan. 13 news release from Thompson.
Mathis said "there's been no contract signed" between him and Thomson.
Kendrick said he's "just an employee" at the facility and isn't becoming an owner.
"There's nothing that's been turned over to me," he said.
Streetsboro Family Days Founder Chuck Kocisko filed a police report Dec. 30, which alleged Thompson hadn't yet paid to Streetsboro Family Days about $28,726 from a fundraising concert for Streetsboro Family Days regular Sonny Geraci's family, according to Streetsboro Police Lt. Darin Powers.
Thompson said bad publicity from the event moved him to try to part ways with Stringz & Wingz.
"That way, [the new owners] can salvage the business," he said. "I've just been dragged through the mud."
Geraci has been recovering for about 18 months from an aneurysm, and the funds are to be used to help defray medical costs. Powers said the case has been handed over the Portage County Prosecutor's office.
Thompson said he plans to pay $23,860 to the Geraci family directly sometime this week via his attorneys, bypassing Streetsboro Family Days in the transaction. Thompson said he had earlier planned on donating about $4,796 in expenses that he no longer plans to donate, which accounts for the lower figure he plans to pay the family.
"I'm not obligated under any kind of contact to give Streetsboro Family Days or Chuck Kocisko anything," he added.
Sonny Geraci's wife, Mary Lou Geraci, said Jan. 11 she sent address information where Thompson could send a check, but hadn't received any money as of press time.
"What he needs to realize is that he needs to be accountable for those tickets that he sold," she said. "He was collecting the money for a benefit."
Kocisko said Streetsboro Family Days sent a check for $9,100 to the Geraci family last week, which includes $3,100 in revenue from the fundraiser the organization collected, plus $6,000 which is Streetsboro Family Days' start-up money for this year's summer festival.
Although Streetsboro Family Days has made a separate payment to the Geraci family, Kocisko said he hasn't given up on the rest of the money.
"We'll do what we have to do get the money," he said.
Thompson said he's helped organize many fundraisers since he opened Stringz & Wingz in 2010 at Market Square Drive. He expanded and moved the business in April 2012 to its current location at Streetsboro Plaza.
He estimated he's been involved in raising "minimum $40,000 to $50,000" annually for various organizations and causes since he came to Streetsboro, including cancer fundraisers, dinners for the Gridiron Club, Streetsboro's wrestling program, the district's art show last May and more.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens