A Westchester-based operator of airport and train station
concessions, already embroiled in litigation with some of its former
executives, has been hit with another lawsuit from one of its corporate
officers, who has accused the company of shorting him half a million dollars
On Aug. 10, plaintiff Michael Flynn filed suit in Cook
County Circuit Court against The Grove Inc. and TGI’s chief executive officer,
The Grove operates famous brand concessions in airports and
train stations nationwide, including several concession operations in Chicago’s
O’Hare International Airport and the city’s Union Station, which serves
passengers aboard Metra’s commuter rail lines and those traveling on Amtrak.
According to the lawsuit, Flynn signed on as The Grove’s new
chief operating officer in December 2015, signing a three-year contract
purportedly promising him an annual salary of $500,000. The lawsuit asserted
the contract also guaranteed Flynn a year’s pay should he be fired for a reason
other than “a change of control and not for cause.”
Yet, Flynn’s lawsuit said he was terminated as The Grove’s
COO in May 2016, about five months after his employment began.
The lawsuit does not state why The Grove and Dukler may have
moved to fire Flynn.
However, the complaint alleged The Grove and its leadership “engaged
in a pattern of conduct to limit and/or thwart Flynn’s performance of his
duties,” allegedly including “setting goals without thoroughly identifying
standards, details and deliverables; unreasonably changing goals; unreasonably
restricting authority and access to … subordinates and peers; … excluding him
from senior executive meetings; … and undermining his relationship with peers
and subordinates,” among other allegations.
Flynn has requested the court order The Grove to pay him
$500,000, plus 2 percent interest on the money for each month it went unpaid,
as he claimed is required under Illinois wage law.
He also requested attorney fees.
Flynn is represented in the action by attorney Nicholas F.
Esposito, of Esposito & Staubus LLP, of Burr Ridge.
The case is the latest brought against The Grove and Dukler
by former executives.
In 2014, TGIs's former COO Paul Loupakos and its former
chief financial officer Robert Ireland both sued the company and Dukler in
separate actions, asserting they were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in
wages and bonuses.
Dukler and The Grove had, in turn, sued Ireland, saying the ex-CFO
had overstated earnings by millions to boost his own bonuses and pay, and those
of other executives.
Those actions remain pending in Cook County court.
Dukler and The Grove are represented in the actions by
attorneys with the firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP, of Chicago.
Ireland is represented by the Fern Trevino Law Offices, of
Chicago. And Loupakos is represented by the firm of Choate Herschmann, of