Saladworks, LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware earlier today. The move is expected to resolve the long-running dispute between founder and chairman John Scardapane and investor Vernon Hill, the Marlton-based banker. For years Scardapane and Hill have engaged in legal disputes over the control and recapitalization of the company, coming to a head with Hill pressing Scardapane to buy him out since 2013.
The bankruptcy filing, signed by Scardapane and Saladworks President Paul Steck, lists Hill, who founded the former Commerce Bank and Metro Bank Plc of England, as Saladworks’ lead unsecured creditor. Mr. Hill says he’s owed $8.8 million, a claim the company disputes. Additionally, Saladworks listed a debt of nearly $2.5 million, also disputed, owed to a company that Saladworks believes is associated with Mr. Hill.
The fresh-salad franchiser is looking for a buyer or new investors that will help extricate the company from litigation involving its owners. In the meantime, the Conshohocken, Pa.-based restaurant chain said that no Saladworks locations will close during the bankruptcy, with normal day-to-day operations expected to continue.
“Saladworks has determined that the best way to maximize value for its stakeholders is through a sale or recapitalization,” the company said in a release. “To ensure the most efficient process possible and to optimize the potential results for all parties, the company has determined to conduct its restructuring process under the supervision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.”