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Upper Crust Pizzeria Crumbles Into Ruin

The chain of gourmet pizza restaurants, including a Watertown location, filed for bankruptcy and reportedly owes $3.4 million to creditors.

The Upper Crust Pizzeria chain has filed for bankruptcy protection after defaulting on millions of dollars in loans, according to the Boston Globe.

The embattled gourmet pizza chain was ordered by the Federal Labor officials to pay overtime to employees, and has been accused of improper use of assests for personal use by executives, and recently shut down some locations, including the Waltham restaurant.

The Boston-based company defaulted on a loan to TD Bank in September, and owes $3.4 million to various creditors, according to the Globe story.

The list of creditors to which chain reportedly owe money, according to documents filed in federal bankruptcy court, includes former attorney general Thomas F. Reilly of Watertown who is owed nearly $230,000; a construction company in Brookline which is owed $500,000, and more than a food distributor that is due $234,000, the Globe reports.

Upper Crust started in Beacon Hill in 2001, and was a profitable business for years. The company has been hurt by lawsuits and other problems, according to the Globe, including the founder’s “improper diversion” of corporate assets for personal use. One such impropriety was the purchase of a Cessna plane, according to an affidavit filed in court, the Globe reports.

In 2009 the company was ordered by the government to pay workers nearly $350,000 in overtime. Company executives then allegedly looked to get back the money by cutting workers’ wages, a move which resulted in a class-action lawsuit filed in 2010 and a second labor department investigation, according to the Globe

The company website lists 16 Upper Crust locations. Most are located in Massachusetts, including the one in Watertown Square, while one is in Portsmouth, N.H. and another in Washington D.C. Four of the locations are operated by franchisees, and will maintain normal operations during bankruptcy proceedings, the Globe reports.

To read the entire Boston Globe article, click here.

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