'M.A.S.H' hot dog eatery exec charged with theft

AP News
Posted: Dec 14, 2011 6:44 PM
'M.A.S.H' hot dog eatery exec charged with theft

The grandson of the founder of a hot dog diner in Ohio made famous on TV's "M.A.S.H." was charged Wednesday with stealing more than $100,000 from the family business.

The charges stem from a yearlong family battle over control of Tony Packo's, a restaurant chain whose hot dog sauce and pickles are sold in stores across the nation.

Tony Packo III, who is executive vice president of Tony Packo's Inc., and company controller Cathleen Dooley were both charged with aggravated theft and face up to three years in prison if convicted.

A message seeking comment was left at Packo's home and with his attorney, Kevin Devaney. Dooley's attorney, Mark Jacobs, declined to comment Wednesday.

Descendants of the restaurant's namesake this summer began accusing each other of financial misdeeds and mismanagement and made their own bids to buy the company. A private restaurant group backed by Tony Packo III and his father, Tony Packo Jr., won the bidding in October for the restaurant chain.

Robin Horvath, who acquired half the company when his mother, Nancy Packo Horvath, daughter of the founders, died in 2003, made a separate bid for the company after suing Packo Jr. and his son in July.

He accused them of blocking him from looking at company financial records after he began questioning them about company spending.

Actor Jamie Farr, a Toledo native, put Packo's on the map in "M.A.S.H." when he portrayed a homesick U.S. soldier in the Korean War who longed for the hot dogs and wore dresses in hopes of convincing the Army he was crazy and should be discharged.

"If you're ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo's got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs," Farr's character, Cpl. Max Klinger, said on an episode in 1976.

The original Packo's remains a destination and is decorated with "M.A.S.H." memorabilia, including glass-encased hot dog buns autographed by celebrities.