After family financial scandal, fate of Homer’s unknown

Sarah Zhang and Anna Ferguson

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Homer’s Ice Cream, longtime North Shore landmark, has become the center of a lawsuit amidst rumors of closing.
Homer’s was founded by Gus Poulos in 1935, and since then has been a roaring success with residents of the North Shore.
However, the success of the shop itself may not be enough to keep it up and running. Under accusations of mismanagement, a lawsuit is being filed by Todd and Craig Poulos, on behalf of their father Stephen Poulos, a co-owner of Homer’s Ice Cream and son of Gus Poulos.
The sons claim that Stephen’s brothers and co-owners, Dean and Jon Poulos, have been taking advantage of their father’s deteriorating mental state, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune also reports that the suit is being filed under accusations of Dean and Jon Poulos using the profits Homer’s reaped “as their personal piggy banks.”
The suit alleges that Dean Poulos has used Homer’s profits to raise his own salary from $156,000 in 2013 to $185,000 in 2014, pay his $7,700 membership fees at the Glen Club, a golf club in Chicago, and pay the dues for his personal condominium in California. The suit also alleges that roughly $54,000 was transferred to Jon Poulos between December 2013 and December 2014.
Although he manages it with his brothers, taking over after Stephen Poulos’ mental health forced him to step down, Dean Poulos is actually the president of Homer’s Ice Cream. And according to Todd and Craig, his management while president has been doing more to hurt the business than just skimming from the company’s bank account.
Poulos allegedly lost Homer’s a large contract to produce ice cream for a number of restaurants, such as Maggiano’s and P.F. Chang’s, according to the suit.
That occurred when the lack of a written agreement allowed the third party producer of Homer’s ice cream to steal their “secret-recipe” and cut Homer’s out of the deal.
However, both Dean and Jon Poulos are calling these charges false and hurtful. Dean Poulos commented on this lawsuit, saying to the Tribune, “Unfortunately, or fortunately, my brother is not cognizant of what his sons are doing right now. He’d be so disgusted. For his children to say, after all these years, that I’m trying to do anything at all ill against my brother is so hurtful.”
The suit also states that Dean and Jon Poulos deliberately blocked Todd and Craig Poulos from participating in Homer’s management.
When Stephen Poulos stepped down as president in 2010, Todd and Craig Poulos were denied their request to be brought into the management team. Instead, Dean Poulos announced that he would become president and would manage Homer’s “exclusively with his sons.”
Todd and Craig Poulos also allege that the company books, to which they were able to gain access due to a previous lawsuit, revealed that Homer’s “realized a profit of only $105,000 in 2013 and less than $30,000 in 2014,” and that this year “appears even grimmer, as Homer’s recorded losses in both January and February.”
Ultimately, Dean Poulos denies that Homer’s is in any danger of closing, according to the Tribune, “Sure, business is tough and we go through cycles, just like any other business, especially with cold winters like this year and last year that are bad for the ice cream business,” he said. “But Homer’s is not going anywhere, not melting down, or anything that they say.”

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