The article in the “Portland Press Herald” today stating that Antonia and Steve Sotiropoulos, founders of the popular Falmouth House of Pizza, filed a lawsuit against their oldest son, George, and his wife Miekal Liberty, perked up the interest of this blogger who had written about the family crises earlier this year. The lawsuit is a unresolved legal effort to keep George from opening HOP earlier this week because of his use of a logo mimicking the original on the front of the building.
Following an unsuccessful visit to the clerk’s office of the Superior Court to obtain a copy of the complaint against George and Miekal, mhn.com drove up to the Falmouth Shopping Center to learn whether or not FHOP had opened. To my surprise, it was open.
After ordering a small pizza and soda and paying $13., mhn.sat down at a booth to read the “New York Times” and watch a tennis match on television.
Suddenly, George and Mikelah sat down in my booth and introduced themselves because I had never met them or spoken with them. They began a dialogue covering a wide variety of issues about themselves about which I had no interest. I tried to focus on my newspaper. When I asked if I could take a photo of them, they scattered like leaves on a windy day.
They returned seconds later and continued the dialogue. He about his childhood; that I didn’t really know his parents, how all the employees at FHOP wanted to stay and work with him, (not his family,) how he had slaved here since his youth, yadda, yadda, yadda. When I asked George if he’d like to comment on the lawsuit his parents filed against him, he answered: “This is not an interview.” This blogger responded: “That has not yet been determined.” This is a man begging for approval while his wife is begging for attention with seemingly little regard for others, based on my experience today. I asked them to please leave my booth as I wanted to eat and read without their chit chat.
George returned to the railing beside my booth once again seconds later. He accused me of taking photos of the staff in the kitchen without asking their permission. I told him I had not taken any photos of the staff whatsoever. He didn’t believe me. He asked me to show him the photos on my camera. I did. There were none of the kitchen staff. He said I had deleted them. I laughed. There was one photo I took of the menu board over the counter. He saw the one photo. Perhaps someone mistakenly thought I was taking photos of staff.
After I took the above photograph of Mikelah, she told me to leave immediately. I was happy to do just that. My pizza was only half eaten, but I wanted to get out of there before the fireworks began. On my way toward the front door, I took one photo of George. (See above left photo). When I tried to got close to the exit area, George tried to block me from leaving. He said: “You can’t leave here with those photographs.” “I want to leave right now,” I told him. “I want to go home now.” He ;put up his arms by his side, waving them in circles like a windmill and blocking me from leaving. I kept telling him I wanted to leave. I tried to get under one arm, but it came down, almost hitting my head.
I got nervous and a little panicky, because I didn’t know what his next step might be. Maybe he would try to snatch my camera which was in my hand. I was trapped and I had no idea for how long. Because of his loud voice he was beginning to draw the attention of the handful of pizza eaters present. It was around 2:00 pm – well past lunchtime. He was creating an unpleasant scene – not good for business. Finally, the windmill motion stopped. He insisted on walking me to the parking lot talking – yadda, yadda, yadda – all the while. I told him to stop harassing me and to stay away from me.
“I’m going to call the police on you for taking those pictures with you. You need my permission,” he said. “I disagree,” I yelled back. “I don’t need your permission. A restaurant is a public place.”
Then George called the Falmouth Police Department and accused this blogger of disorderly conduct by taking four photographs inside the HOP. Apparently, he filed a disorderly conduct complaint against me with the Falmouth Police Department for using my camera without George’s permission. Since that time, the case that George filed against me was dismissed by the court.
His wife Mikeal Liberty is related to Michael Liberty, although she said she hasn’t seen him in years.
George, if you sought legal advice on the possible consequences of intentionally mimicking and misleading the public with the name FHOP on the front of your stolen pizza house, that attorney if not common sense should have forewarned you that you ran the risk of a lawsuit by your parents.
Please read the four following comments below.
Please see post herein dated April 24, 2019 for more background information on the subject. It’s called: Falmouth House of Pizza Relocation Complicated by Elephant in the Family – a consistently popular read on this blog.