Judge rules Custino's Italian Restaurant to remain in business

Judge decides Custino's Italian Restaurant will remain open for business, without a name change.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: August 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm •  Published: August 22, 2012

Custino's Italian Restaurant will remain open for business, without a name change, despite an injunction sought by the son of its former namesake cook.

Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis Tuesday quickly dismissed the request by Angelo Custino, son of Phil Custino, who sought to close the restaurant after weeks of acrimony with Bud and Barbara Elder, who financed the eatery.

The dispute began June 26. Bud Elder, former film commission director, argued the Custinos failed to show up for work, called employees and told them not to report to work, and then proceeded to turn off utilities in what he claims was an effort to seize control of the eatery.

Elder alleges the Custinos then withdrew $1,600 from the restaurant's bank account — a claim admitted by Angelo Custino who said the withdrawal was a move to protect the business. Custino alleged the Elders embezzled money from the business — a claim they deny.

The Elders' attorney, Bill Zuhdi, told Davis his clients fully financed the restaurant, spending more than $75,000.

Both sides agreed that as of Tuesday, the partnership was dissolved — an agreement that seemed to have Davis' blessing. But Custino argued it ended June 26, while Elder said it ended this week.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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