Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is involved in a legal battle revolving around who has control over a 67-year-old retail bakery in Jacksonville, Florida, according to a report on Jacksonville.com.
Founded in 1947, Edgewood Bakery is a full-line bakery that was bought by a group of investors and entrepreneurs in June 2014. Khan, owner of the National Football League’s Jaguars, filed a lawsuit on Dec. 2, 2014, in Circuit Court against U.S. Culinary & Beverage founders Tom Rykalsky and his wife, Carol, and partner Mike Zimmerman, current owners of Edgewood Bakery in Jacksonville. He is asking for a declaratory judgment that his investment firm, Stache Investments, owns a majority interest in the business after giving the entrepreneurs $800,000 of seed money, according to reports. The lawsuit also argues Stache “has the sole right to manage” the ownership company and bakery on Edgewood Avenue.
Tom Rykalsky said the lawsuit has created panic among many of the long-standing customers of Edgewood Bakery. But he’s trying to tamp down rumors that the business is closing. “We are absolutely fulfilling our commitments,” Tom Rykalsky told Jacksonville.com on Dec. 5. “We are in business and we are taking care of our customers.”
In a Facebook post on Dec. 5, Edgewood Bakery’s owners wrote: “Thank you for all of the support that has been graciously offered so far. We plan to fight with all we have to make sure that our bakery does not become a corporate run business. Edgewood Bakery is and has always been a family business, and it is our hope that it always will be. On behalf of myself, the Rykalsky family, and all the employees who will lose their jobs if Stache Investments succeeds, we thank you for all of your comments and shares. Please continue to spread the word and help us fight to preserve the Edgewood Bakery legacy. Murray Hill has been built on small businesses and, though we are small compared to Stache, we are dedicated and luckily we have all of you standing with us. Your support is invaluable, thank you.”
Meanwhile, the lawsuit filed by Khan and his investment group Stache Investments claims Tom Rykalsky is mismanaging the business and “Edgewood Bakery is losing long-time customers.”
Jim Woodcock, spokesman for Khan and Stache Investments, issued a Dec. 5 statement:
"Mr. Khan and Stache Investments have one clear and unqualified intention - to continue to support deserving Jacksonville-based businesses and entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, Mr. Khan enthusiastically stepped forward to preserve the historic Edgewood Bakery in Murray Hill and, specifically, help achieve the business vision of Jacksonville businessman Tom Rykalsky to produce and distribute healthy baked goods for school children.
"Recently, Mr. Rykalsky took exclusive control of the bakery's operations, with the result today that Edgewood Bakery's future appears to be in serious jeopardy. Mr. Rykalsky and his associates claim that they are the majority owners of the bakery and over the past several weeks have rejected Stache's claim that it is the rightful majority owner, despite clear evidence supporting Stache's position. To resolve this dispute, Stache is now asking a court to determine who is the majority owner and, during the time needed to reach resolution, to put the bakery in the control of a neutral receiver to protect the Edgewood Bakery, its employees and vendors.
"Mr. Khan regrets needing to take this step and will trust the legal system to take it from here and arrive at an appropriate resolution. In the meantime, this matter does not change Mr. Khan's goal - doing his part to support local entrepreneurs and ensure that the Edgewood Bakery survives and thrives as a Jacksonville neighborhood icon for many years to come."
Since September, the Rykalskys said, Khan's representatives have told employees they were fired.
The bakery is still operating, and the Rykalskys said they will continue to assure customers, particularly brides who have ordered wedding cakes, and people who rely on them every day that their orders will be fulfilled.
"We are going to go on with operations," Tom Rykalsky said. "We are going to run the bakery. We are going to take care of our customers."
Rykalksy participated in the inaugural One Spark event in 2013 that took place in downtown Jacksonville. His creator enterprise was known as the startup organization Pure Treats, and he did so well that he received part of the $1 million entrepreneurial prize for concept development that was offered by Khan.