The Bug’s Brisbane-based finance and investment columnist is facing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit brought by a US-based company alleging he has been trading on their name without authorisation.
Private equity firm Nord Bay Capital owner or both the Florida-based Hooters and the Georgia-based Hooters of America adult restaurant chains has launched a commercial action in the Queensland Supreme Court claiming Bezzle deliberately and illegally traded on the name and goodwill of both chains.
Documents lodged with the court name Morrison Edison Ponzi Phar Lap Bezzle, age and address unknown, (pictured outside the court recently where he appeared on another matter) as the chief executive officer of Rooters Restaurants based in Brisbane but with branches in several centres around Australia.
The US firm is seeking court orders for Bezzle to close his restaurants and to pay compensation for alleged losses sustained by the existing Hooters outlets operating in Australia.
The company has claimed that Bezzle deliberately mimicked and infringed its trademarked name and logo (pictured) and illegally copied its uniforms and dress standards for wait staff.
When contacted Bezzle said he would be “vigorously defending” the action.
“I’ve engaged my usual legal representative, Dicky Shearman QC, who tells me in no uncertain terms that there is a legal Latin term for the Hooters suit – utter fucking bullshit,” Bezzle said.
He said he would be denying all of the claims being made against him by the US firm, especially the allegation that he had attempted to mimic its logo and staff dress standards.
“I’ve done no such thing. All I’m guilty of is being honest with punters entering my establishments,” he said.
“Hooters uses an owl in its logo as a bit of a play on the word ‘hoot’. It’s nothing like my logo which uses the great tit. (pictured)
“I also can’t see that Hooters has a leg to stand on when it comes to my staff uniform because there aren’t any. All wait staff work in the nude, and that goes for the sheilas as well as the boys – I firmly believe in being an equal opportunity employer.”