The founder of Papa John's has filed a lawsuit against the company, its board of directors and CEO in the latest twist in the drama surrounding the pizza chain.
John Schnatter filed the lawsuit in Delaware's Court of Chancery asking the court to help stop what he sees as irreparable harm being done to the company.
Schnatter resigned in July as Papa John's chairman amid a report that he used a racial slur during a media training session. But he remains the Louisville, Kentucky-based company's biggest shareholder and has said his resignation was a mistake.
Papa John's founder John Schnatter filed a second lawsuit against company CEO and board of directors, asking the court to stop what he thinks is irreparable harm being done to it
Schnatter resigned as company chairman in July, after admitting to use a racial slur during a meeting. He had previously stepped down as CEO in December 2017
The complaint filed Thursday is sealed. But a statement from Schnatter's representatives said the lawsuit claims CEO Steve Ritchie and the board of Papa John's International Inc. are harming the company by 'their repeated, and ongoing, breaches of the duties of loyalty and care' owed the company.
Papa John's said it will fight Schnatter's lawsuit, which it said is without merit.
'John Schnatter will do anything to distract attention from the harm caused by his inappropriate words,' the company said. 'He continues to make reckless allegations in his attempt to regain control and serve his own interests.'
On August 27, Schnatter posted a letter on the Save Papa Johns website, in which he spoke directly to franchise owners.
In the letter, he blamed Papa John's recent 'poor performance' on 'rot at the top' of the company, alleging that the company's HR department has 'detailed evidence of sexual misconduct, harassment and intimidation by virtually everyone in Steve's [Ritchie] inner circle, and relating to Board members as well.'
Schnatter is said to suing over claims that CEO Steve Ritchie (pictured) and the board of Papa John's International Inc. are harming the company by 'their repeated, and ongoing, breaches of the duties of loyalty and care' owed the company