Bow Truss owner Phil Tadros is seeking $38 million in a defamation lawsuit filed today against Crain’s Chicago Business. The suit alleges that Crain’s “had personal motive to harm” by publishing a report last year chronicling the coffeeshop chain founder and his questionable business practices. Tadros, who has since shuttered most of his coffee shops, claims Crain’s intentionally published falsehoods that eroded his business relationships and that editors ignored his concerns about the reporting.
The lawsuit, filed by Tadros directly, lists Detroit-based Crain’s Communications as a defendant, along with Crain’s Chicago reporter Peter Frost, editor Michael Arndt, and former publisher David Snyder. The lawsuit also lists family members Keith, Rance, KC, and Christopher Crain.
Tadros denied many of the wrongdoings listed in the Crain’s story. The lawsuit claimed Tadros never spent company and investor money for personal uses, that he kept accurate financial records, and that he didn’t break any securities rules. Crain’s only focused on negatives and chose to ignore positive comments from interviewed sources, according to the lawsuit.
“Overall, defendants not only knowingly misrepresented the facts about Mr. Tadros and his business in the defamatory article [but it also] intentionally refused to publish any positive facts about Mr. Tadros.”
The lawsuit lists coverage of a domestic disagreement and posts on social media as proof of a personal vendetta. Meanwhile, Tadros alleges that Crain’s misled him when arranging a 2016 interview that became part of the news report in question: “Defendants intended to publish a ‘hit piece’ about Mr. Tadros, portraying him as negatively as possible.”
Since the report, Bow Truss has lost accounts with Hilton Hotels, Merchandise Mart, Whole Foods, and University of Chicago. Tadros’ web development company, Doejo, lost its account with Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Streeterville. The lawsuit even mentions the splinter with Jared Leonard over The Budlong. The lawsuit does not mention Marcus Lemonis and the failed sale of the chain to the host of TV’s The Profit (Tadros has also sued him).
Besides the $38 million, Tadros seeks additional money through punitive damages and wants the court to force Crain’s to retract their story and to take it down from the website. No one from Crain’s could be immediately reached for comment.
Take a look at the lawsuit below.