Benihana Settles Lawsuit by Shareholders

The Miami Herald
December 31, 1991
Business Section, Page 7B

Benihana National Corp. of Miami has settled a lawsuit filed by shareholders, bringing more independence to the company's business dealings from a private company owned by Benihana's founder, Rocky Aoki.

The suit, filed two years ago, accused Aoki of using privately owned Benihana of Tokyo to divert funds from publicly owned Benihana National. Aoki is chairman and controlling stockholder of Benihana National. He owns all of Benihana of Tokyo. The public company owns 20 restaurants, and the private company owns 18 restaurants, said Benihana President Joel Schwartz.

Under the agreement, the two companies will obtain separate bids for most of their services, Schwartz said. The suit had demanded separate bids for all services, claiming that Aoki had misappropriated $413,568 through an excess payment to an unnamed supplier. "In the future, we will use the same suppliers only if there is a benefit to both companies," Schwartz said.

The settlement also calls for the two companies to hire separate lawyers to handle transactions between them. The settlement was reached following recommendations by a court- appointed investigator, John Abdo, a Benihana National board member and vice chairman of the board of BankAtlantic.

Copyright (c) 1991 The Miami Herald