ST. CHARLES, Ill. (CN) – Walter Payton’s family says the owners of a restaurant in Aurora cheated on royalty payments for 10 years. Heirs of the late great Chicago Bears running back say they dissolved a 15-year partnership with Walter Payton’s Roundhouse restaurant in December 2009, and its owner Scott Ascher owes them for 10 years of royalties.
The complaint in Kane County Court claims that Ascher failed to pay “two percent (2%) of annual calendar gross sales of the complex or $100,000 per year,” for the right to use Payton’s image, likeness, picture and signature.
The family also claims Ascher owes them for selling merchandise “with the silhouette of Walter J. Payton, the number ’34,’ head shots of Walter J. Payton and the signature of Walter J. Payton”.
Ascher disputed the claims in an interview with CBS News. “When Walter was here, he was a draw,” Ascher said. “The estate can’t expect the same return Walter was getting. This went back and forth for 10 years, and was never resolved.”
The Paytons claim Ascher also breached fiduciary duty by concealing that he bought out another partner’s shares using money from unauthorized loans secured by the restaurant.
Payton, whose nickname was Sweetness, held career records in virtually every running category when he retired in 1987. The wildly popular running back who played for Chicago his entire career died of a rare liver disease in 1999.
The Payton Estate seeks damages for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.
They are represented by Kelly Kramer.