Kathleen man accused of franchise violations in opening deli

bpurser@macon.comJune 27, 2013 

William K. “Kip” Kirk of Kathleen is accused of using trade secrets from Alabama-based Momma G.’s Inc. in opening Kip’s Korner at 100 Hospital Drive in Warner Robins.

BECKY PURSER — bpurser@macon.com

WARNER ROBINS -- A Kathleen man is accused of violating a franchise agreement for Momma Goldberg’s Deli and using trade secrets in opening a competing restaurant.

A civil lawsuit was filed June 13 in federal court in Macon against William K. “Kip” Kirk. The lawsuit names Kirk as the sole shareholder of Fortune Group Inc., which holds a franchise agreement with Alabama-based Momma G’s Inc. for the operation of Momma Goldberg’s Deli at 3030 Watson Blvd.

The lawsuit alleges Kirk used trade secret information from Momma G’s Inc. to open Kip’s Korner at 101 Hospital Drive in early June. The restaurants are less than four miles apart.

“I haven’t been served with any papers at this point,” Kirk said by telephone Thursday from Momma Goldberg’s Deli. “I’ve done nothing wrong, and that’s all I’m going to comment.”

Sam Alderman, a Macon attorney representing Kirk, said his client “vehemently denies” the allegations. He declined to comment further.

The lawsuit accuses Kirk of using supplies in his new business that Momma G’s Inc. provided exclusively for the operation of Momma Goldberg’s Deli. He’s accused of taking Momma Goldberg’s branded meats and wrongfully selling them at Kip’s Korner.

Kirk also is accused of attempting to hire away employees from Momma Goldberg’s Deli to work at Kip’s Korner and has “ordered at least one Momma Goldberg’s manager to manage his competing business,” the lawsuit states.

He also allegedly failed to meet his contractual obligations to “actively manage” Momma Goldberg’s Deli.

Kirk also is accused of keeping 100 percent of catering order fees instead of paying a 4 percent royalty and 2 percent advertising fee to Momma G’s Inc. as required under the franchise agreement.

The lawsuit seeks monetary and punitive damages and litigation costs, including attorney’s fees. It also seeks that Kirk be “preliminarily and permanently enjoined from continuing such wrongful actions.”

Joseph D. Stephens, one of two Macon attorneys representing Momma G’s Inc., referred comment to lead attorney, Jason D. Lewis. Lewis could not be reached for comment.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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