WARNER ROBINS -- A Kathleen man is accused of violating a franchise agreement for Momma Goldbergs 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 Gs Inc. for the operation of Momma Goldbergs Deli at 3030 Watson Blvd.
The lawsuit alleges Kirk used trade secret information from Momma Gs Inc. to open Kips Korner at 101 Hospital Drive in early June. The restaurants are less than four miles apart.
I havent been served with any papers at this point, Kirk said by telephone Thursday from Momma Goldbergs Deli. Ive done nothing wrong, and thats all Im 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 Gs Inc. provided exclusively for the operation of Momma Goldbergs Deli. Hes accused of taking Momma Goldbergs branded meats and wrongfully selling them at Kips Korner.
Kirk also is accused of attempting to hire away employees from Momma Goldbergs Deli to work at Kips Korner and has ordered at least one Momma Goldbergs manager to manage his competing business, the lawsuit states.
He also allegedly failed to meet his contractual obligations to actively manage Momma Goldbergs 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 Gs Inc. as required under the franchise agreement.
The lawsuit seeks monetary and punitive damages and litigation costs, including attorneys 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 Gs Inc., referred comment to lead attorney, Jason D. Lewis. Lewis could not be reached for comment.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.