Tony Packo III pleads not guilty to restaurant theft charges

Tony Packo's grandson pleaded not guilty to restaurant theft charges Tuesday.

The executive vice president of Toledo's famous hot dog eatery pleaded not guilty to theft charges on Tuesday.

Tony Packo III appeared for arraignment at the Lucas County Common Pleas Court with Tony Packo's restaurant chain controller, Cathleen Dooley, on three counts each of aggravated theft.

"In the end, it is my hope that the criminal justice system works properly because, in the end, that may be all I have left," said Robin Horvath, Packo III's cousin. "At the hands of Judge Zmuda, I have lost my companies, my livelihood and my family legacy."

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The pair is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the restaurant chain and face three years in prison.

Packo III and Dooley--who also pleaded not guilty--will appear in court again on Thursday.

"It did not matter to him (Judge Zmuda) that I was right about the thefts or that I had twice submitted offers to buy the assets of Tony Packo's, Inc..." Horvath said. "Instead, while censoring the record and accusing me of 'scorched earth' tactics, Judge Zmuda thought it best to accept the lowest offer and sell the assets--and the evidence--to TP Foods, whose current management was arraigned here today on felony theft charges."