Former Aurelio's Pizza COO, franchising director sues pizza chain for unpaid bonuses

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jun 16, 2015

A former executive overseeing franchising operations at a popular Chicago area chain of pizzerias has sued his former employer, claiming Aurelio’s Pizza owes him more than $200,000 in unpaid wages and other compensation.

Kirk Mauriello, Aurelio’s former chief operating officer and director of franchising, filed his complaint in Cook County Circuit Court on June 11 against Aurelio’s Is Pizza Franchise Ltd. and Aurelio’s founder, CEO and president Joseph Aurelio.

According to the complaint, Mauriello, of Mokena, served in leadership roles at the Homewood-based restaurant chain from March 2010 to May 2015. He was initially hired as director of franchising, and ascended to the role of chief operating officer in October 2013, the complaint states, with an annual base salary of $96,000. He also participated in the company’s “annual incentive plan,” which Mauriello asserts entitled him to “an annual payout of 10 percent of Aurelio’s income before taxes for that year.”

He estimated he should have been paid an additional $126,787 sum under the incentive plan, or about $14,000-$38,000 per year, depending on the company’s performance in a given year, from 2010-2014, plus $7,000 for the first five months of 2015.

However, Mauriello alleges the company has withheld those incentive payments from him for each of those years, despite his “repeated demands for payment.”

He resigned from Aurelio’s in May.

Aurelio’s Pizza celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2014. Since opening the first restaurant in suburban Homewood in 1959, the company has grown to operate dozens of locations in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana, as well as Peoria, Macomb, Las Vegas, Roseville, Minn., and Naples, Fla., according to its website.

Mauriello’s complaint alleges a count each of violation of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act against the Aurelio’s corporation and Joseph Aurelio, individually.

In all, Mauriello is seeking $203,775 in damages, plus attorney’s fees and costs.

He has requested a jury trial.

Mauriello is represented in the action by attorneys Douglas W. Bax and David J. Strubbe, of the firm of Williams Bax & Saltzman, of Chicago.

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