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business

Hudson Valley Owners Of Rita's Italian Ice Sue Former Accountant For $5M

DeAngelis family of Dutchess County, who own numerous Rita's Italian Ice stores, have sued their former accountants.
DeAngelis family of Dutchess County, who own numerous Rita's Italian Ice stores, have sued their former accountants. Photo Credit: Google Maps screen grab

The owners of Rita's Italian Ice stores in New York and Connecticut are suing their former accounting firm and demanding $5 million in compensation in a lawsuit filed in federal court in White Plains, according to the Business Journal .

In the suit, filed in December, the DeAngelis family of Dutchess County, accuse their former accounting firm, Brendon Pierson Inc. of Wall Township, N.J., of malpractice, saying they committed a series of gross errors in services causing the company to suffered severe damages, the Journal said.

The suit also names company accountants Brendan J. Pierson and Jeffrey M. Kotch.

The firm handled the family's business and personal accounts including taxes, investments, and payroll, the Journal reported.

The family owns and operates Rita’s stores in Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Peekskill, and Brooklyn, as well as in Danbury and Bethel, Conn.

The suit claims the problems began in 2011 when they sold several Dunkin' Donuts stores and the firm allegedly failed to file franchise tax returns. Years later, the family said they were notified of the oversight and fined by state and federal tax agencies, the Journal said.

They also claim that over the years the accounting firm failed to file required tax forms, including in their personal income taxes, resulting in the company suffering a tarnished credit rating, “fear of arrest, fear of people knocking on their home door, embarrassment and mental distress," the complaint said.

The family claim they repeatedly contacted the firm to fix the errors, but their requests were ignored and fell on deaf ears, the Journal said.

The complaint adds that because of the accounting firms errors the family was unable to open a business on Coney Island they have invested thousands of dollars in, as well having loans rejected, including a student loan for their son, the Journal reported.

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