Philip Tadros, the owner of Bow Truss coffee shops, among other ventures, is suing Crain’s Chicago Business for defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
He is seeking at least $38 million in damages in a lawsuit that was self-filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Tadros claims the weekly business journal defamed him with a “hit piece” article published by Crain’s in July last year and written by journalist Peter Frost.
The article, titled “One of Chicago’s most connected entrepreneurs has made more than a few enemies” caused Tadros to lose accounts and investors for his businesses, including coffee contracts with Hilton Hotels, Merchandise Mart, Whole Foods and University of Chicago, the suit claims. Another business, Doejo, lost a contract with Lurie’s Children’s Hospital.
As a result of the article, landlords attempted to terminate his leases, his relation with his partner in Budlong — a Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant — deteriorated, the suit says. Additionally, his personal relationships, including his marriage, suffered as a result of the article.
Crain’s “failed to investigate anyone or anything that would conceivably portray Mr. Tadros in a positive light,” according to court documents. The writer and editors used unreliable sources and relied on incomplete business records for their reporting, which implied he had mismanaged his businesses and defrauded investors.
Shaye Robeson, a former business partner of Tadros quoted in the article, said “When Crain’s interviewed me about Philip Tadros I shared many positive things about him … I regret being interviewed and feel misled,” according to the suit.
In addition to damages, Tadros also wants Crain’s to retract the story and prevent them from publishing or disseminating the article.
Crain’s could not be reached for comment on the suit Saturday.
Tadros also sued Bow Truss investor and venture capitalist Alan Matthew last year for more than $50,000, claiming Matthew breached his fiduciary duty as a company shareholder and defamed Tadros publicly through a Crain’s interview and on social media.