News and Tribune

August 29, 2013

Former Hooters owner files civil suit

Defendants include Jeffersonville couple


JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville Fire Department Assistant Chief Josh Thompson and his wife, Beth Thompson, are subjects of a civil suit filed Wednesday in a Clark County court by a former Hooters restaurant franchisee and Jeffersonville resident Neal Harding.

The Thompsons are identified in the complaint as “principals” of Target Metabolism Franchising [TMF], which owned and operated three weight-loss centers in Indianapolis and having agreed to sell Harding a partnership of the company.

In the complaint filed by Harding and his attorney Larry Wilder, of Jeffersonville, the Thompsons are accused of collecting from Harding a total of $420,000 made in eight payments between November 2012 and March 2013.

Five days after receiving the final payment, the couple filed for personal bankruptcy, according to the document.

The complaint continues, “The Thompsons have failed and refused to provide Harding with financial information to substantiate where the $420,000 in funds were spent.”

The payments were made directly to the Thompsons and/or an entity that was within their sole control.

Wilder released in a statement Thursday that Harding was “duped” into supporting three new Target Metabolism stores in Kentucky.

“Before it was over, he was informed that the money would only fund two stores, and when it was all said and done, the two stores that were opened didn’t survive six months,” according to Wilder’s statement.

Along with the Thompsons, other defendants of the suit include Dr. John Sparzo and Dr. John Unison, each of Indianapolis, who are referenced as directors, stockholders and/or members of TMF.

The complaint reads that the Thompsons and the doctors “ ... made false, misleading and deceptive representations of material fact ... ” concerning the financial stability of the of Indianapolis weight-loss centers in the process of receiving financial support from Harding.

The case’s next hearing date was not available on the Clark County online court records as of press time.