The Rascal Flatts restaurant linked to the Mafia? An exposé published by the Arizona Republic offers new insight to the failed restaurant venture of Rascal Flatts. Back in January, the group delivered the bad news that their plans to open their own restaurant chain. During that time, they had explained that they severed ties with the restaurant developer to whom they had originally licensed their name.
Damaging Mafia Ties
According to the Republic, the developer is an alleged mobster named Frank Capri. He’s apparently a former Mafia soldier in New York’s notorious Lucchese crime family. But after being busted for running a heroin pipeline in the 1990s, he turned government witness and got a new identity in the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Capri walked away from the failed project with millions in his pocket. the article also published a series of voice mail snippets left by Capri in an attempt to swindle and threaten his way into even more money from the then-halted development deal.
It seems as though he took his new identity and turned it into something more sinister. He used his identity to fashion and market himself as a restaurateur, real-estate investor, and commercial developer.
Not the Only Victim
Country superstar Toby Keith was also conned by this mafia soldier. His restaurant chain, ‘I Love This Bar & Grill” were also spearheaded by Capri. Since 2009, he had built about 20 restaurants with Keith’s name. However, by 2015, the chain had collapsed on itself and many of them have since closed. The chain was dogged by financial problems that stemmed from unpaid taxes. But other locations like the one in Oklahoma and Las Vegas are still open for business.
Rascal Flatt’s Statement
The CMA award-winning trio, Jay DeMarchs, Joe Don Rooney, and Gary LeVox were not directly involved with the project and had no direct ownership of the chain, a spokesperson of the group told the Republic. However, it was true that they did license their name to the project, but that was as far as the connection runs.
“The band terminated the license agreement and is no longer in business with this company or Mr. Capri. Rascal Flatts licensed use of their name, image and logo to the restaurant developer and had nothing to do with the construction or build out plans for these restaurants. The use of the Rascal Flatts name in association with restaurants owned by RF IP, LLC or Frank Capri is no longer authorized.”