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Villa Bellini Ristorante & Lounge, Inc. v. Mancini

Florida Court of Appeals, Second District

November 15, 2019

VILLA BELLINI RISTORANTE & LOUNGE, INC., Appellant,
v.
Ciro MANCINI, and QAMM Properties, Inc., a Florida corporation, Appellees.

Page 973

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 974

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Pinellas County; George M. Jirotka, Judge.

         Stacy D. Blank of Holland & Knight LLP, Tampa, for Appellant.

         Brandon S. Vesely and Shannon T. Sinai (withdrew after briefing) of Albertelli Law, Tampa; Brandon S. Vesely of The Florida Appellate Firm, P.A., St. Petersburg (substituted as counsel of record), for Appellee Ciro Mancini.

          No appearance for Appellee QAMM Properties, Inc.

         OPINION

         LUCAS, Judge.

          On the surface, this is a business dispute over the right of a shareholder to inspect his corporation’s records; but the real controversy here is whether Ciro Mancini, an executive chef, is in fact a shareholder of Villa Bellini Ristorante & Lounge, Inc. (Villa Bellini). Following an evidentiary hearing, the circuit court issued its "Final Order Granting Petitioner’s Writ of Mandamus and Motion for Summary Relief" in favor of Mr. Mancini and determined that Mr. Mancini was indeed a Villa Bellini shareholder and that, as such, he was entitled to access and review of Villa Bellini’s corporate records. Villa Bellini appeals from that order.

          I.

          In the interest of brevity, we will relate several of the circuit court’s factual findings to provide some of the factual background of this appeal:

On or about January 27, 2014, Ciro Mancini ("Mancini"), an Italian chef working at a restaurant in Dunedin ... spoke with a man by the name of Marco Marzocca ("Marzocca") about opening an Italian restaurant called Villa Bellini Ristorante, LLC....
....
On or about July 24, 2014, Villa Bellini [Ristorante] and Lounge, Inc. ("VBRL") was established and incorporated and Villa Bellini Ristorante, LLC ceased operations.
Amongst other things, Mancini, as general manager and executive chef of VBRL, was responsible for overseeing the buildout, the hiring of employees, and the menu to the new restaurant, VBRL.
In his position as Executive Chef of VBRL, Mancini was paid a salary.
On or about September 20, 2016, Mancini was terminated as the Executive Chef of VBRL....
After September 20, 2016, Mancini, through counsel, made requests for inspection of books and records of VBRL pursuant to a statutory demand for inspection Chapter § 607.1602, Florida Statutes (2016 as amended) but said requests were denied ...

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