The clan behind the failed Criniti’s chain of flashy Italian restaurants is being pulled apart in the midst of claims that the founder has been violent and intimidating towards other family members.
Frank Criniti is the subject of five arrested violence requests by the police to protect family members, including his former wife Rima, younger brother Dominic and Dominic’s wife Lourdes.
The 40-year-old has already been guilty of attacking Rima and has been accused of violating the interim GMS that protects Lourdes.
Rima, 40, Dominic, 38 and Lourdes, 34, have all been closely involved with the Criniti Group, including the cafes of Frankie’s Food Factory.
The accusations against Frank come because the restaurants of Criniti are closed in two states and new investors are being sought to take over the remaining part of the chain.
Frank faced Parramatta Local Court on Monday when his lawyer explained all his client’s alleged criminal conduct in connection with the collapse of the Criniti empire.
“They are related,” said lawyer Crean. ‘They have all been involved with family members since the death of the family business.
The clan behind the failed Criniti’s chain of dazzling Italian restaurants is being torn apart by a series of police-arrested violence requests to protect relatives of the founder, Frank Criniti. The 40-year-old (photo) is the subject of five GMSs
The police have applied for arrested violence to protect Dominic and Lourdes Criniti (both pictured) from Dominic’s brother Frank Criniti. Dominic and his then sister-in-law Rima were the public faces of Criniti’s in his halcyon days, who organized lavish opening parties
Frank and Rima Criniti (photo) founded the first Criniti’s restaurant in Parramatta in 2003 when they were both 23. The couple were divorced later. The police have successfully requested an AVO to protect Rima against Frank, who has been guilty of assaulting her
“They had a family business together and it is essentially related to the recession in that company.”
Mr. Crean described Frank as someone who had no previous criminal convictions before allegedly “committing a number of violations in a short period of time.”
Frank has previously been found guilty of one indictment of physical injury while still being confronted with another, and there are interim AVOs to protect two other family members.
Rima, who launched the first Criniti’s in 2003 with her then husband Frank in Sydney, described the failure of the eating empire as preventable.
She did not want to talk about the AVO or abuse by her ex-husband when she was contacted by Daily Mail Australia. Frank also declined to comment on Monday.
Rima and her then brother-in-law Dominic were the public faces of Criniti’s in its heyday, while the now heavily tattooed Frank remained largely in the background.
Frank Criniti (photo) pleaded guilty to one count of assault that caused physical injury and still has to plead for another. His lawyer told the Parramatta local court that all cases will be the subject of a request to have them treated according to the mental health law (forensic procedures)
The heavily tattooed Frank Criniti has kept a low public profile despite the previous success of the Criniti restaurant chain. TV presenter Erin Molan is depicted with Italian football star Fabio Cannavaro (center) and Frank’s brother Dominic Criniti
Dominic was photographed in the Criniti restaurants with Italian football stars Alessandro Del Piero – during his stint game with Sydney FC – and world cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro.
His Linkedin profile still mentions him as general manager at the Criniti Group, while his wife Lourdes on social media says she works at Frankie’s Food Factory.
Frank and Dominic joined forces in 2012 to write a book called Southern Italian Home Cooking that was described as “a celebration of the family.”
Four members of that family will now compete against Frank when their AVO applications are heard. A two-year AVO that protects Rima was confirmed on Monday.
Criniti’s, famous for its two and three meter long pizzas, once boasted 13 eateries in Australia before it was handed over to managers at the end of last year.
At the Woolloomooloo Wharf celebrity hangout, two Ducati motorcycles were hung from the ceiling and diners were driven to the door with a Rolls Royce Phantom.
Italian motorcycles and sports cars adorn the restaurants of Criniti. The chain once delivered a Rolls Royce Phantom to ferry diners to and from its Woolloomooloo Wharf eatery
Frank Criniti pleaded guilty for attacking his ex-wife Rima (photo) on Castle Hill on December 29. Frank kicked Rima in the leg after warning her, “Shut up, I’m going to hit you,” during a confrontation at the Castle Towers shopping center
While eight of the Criniti stores are still trading, the entrepreneurial world of the founder has been unraveled and the halcyon days of the family business are over.
Frank, whose parents emigrated from Italy in the 1960s, was disqualified for five years in 2018 from running a business because of his involvement with seven other bankrupt companies.
A year earlier, he told the New South Wales Supreme Court that some of his financiers had used Comanchero bikies to threaten to shoot his restaurants.
Criniti went into voluntary administration in November when five of the restaurants were closed and dozens of employees were fired without prior notice.
Last year the police met an AVO to protect Rima and accused Frank of attacking her in Castle Hill in the afternoon of December 29. He pleaded guilty to the attack on Monday.
Frank Criniti (photo) declined to comment on Daily Mail Australia when he was approached outside Parramatta Local Court on Monday morning. He is confronted with five charges and is the subject of five AVO applications submitted by the police on behalf of family members
Criniti’s specializes in wood-fired pizza, fresh pasta, steaks and ribs, seafood, desserts and cakes. Critics claim that the menu is overloaded. The pizza of a Criniti is shown
Frank was described in court cases as the operator of a cafe at the Big Flower nursery in Glenhaven, a semi-rural suburb of Sydney where he once lived in a $ 9 million mansion with his wife and their three children.
Facts submitted to the court showed that Frank kicked his ex-wife in the leg when they met in the Castle Towers shopping center after he had warned her: “Shut up, I’m going to fool you.”
“The accused raised his leg and made a sweeping motion and kicked the victim to the right leg just above her knee, which immediately hurt her in the region,” the statement said.
That issue was left to March to join other cases against Frank, who will try to deal with them all under Article 32 of the Mental Health Act (forensic provisions) instead of criminal law.
Mr. Crean said to magistrate Tim Keady: “There are major mental health problems with Mr. Criniti.”
Frank was confronted with a Burwood magistrate on February 13 when police requested an AVO to protect his sister-in-law Lourdes.
Frank was then arrested and charged with breaking that order. He was given bail under conditions that he does not inflict or threaten, stalk, harass or intimidate or damage.
The original Criniti restaurant on Church Street, Parramatta, which opened in 2003, is still traded. It is pictured for lunch on Monday
Italian football player Alessandro Del Piero (right) signs his signature for Dominic Criniti. Del Piero played from 1993 to 2012 for Juventus in Turin and Sydney FC from 2012 to 2014
Frank was back in court last Wednesday, this time at the Downing Center where the police requested an AVO to protect his brother Dominic.
THE STORY OF THE CRINITI
Criniti’s was founded in 2003 by Frank Criniti and his wife Rima in Parramatta on the western outskirts of Sydney.
The menu is designed to combine traditional Southern Italian dishes with contemporary Australian dishes.
De Crinitis opened their second eatery in Darling Harbor in 2009, the year that Rima left the company.
More NSW points of sale followed at Woolloomooloo, Kirrawee and Manly in Sydney, Wollongong and Kotara in Newcastle.
Criniti’s spread interstate to Chermside in Brisbane, Cannington in Perth, and Southbank and Carlton in Melbourne.
On November 19, 2019, the chain went into administration and five of the 13 restaurants were closed.
He is also awaiting punishment for driving his white Audi SQ7 at Northmead on November 25 while his driver’s license was suspended.
Frank, Rima and Dominic are currently parties to various civil actions in which Criniti Group companies are heard in the stock department of the NSW Supreme Court.
The first Crintis were opened 17 years ago by Frank and Rima in Church Street, Parramatta, when they were both 23.
The original restaurant turned out to be hugely popular and six years later the couple launched a location in Darling Harbor, which was also a hit and became the company’s flagship.
At its peak there were nine Criniti restaurants in New South Wales, two in Victoria and one in Queensland and Western Australia.
Rima left Criniti’s in 2009 to educate the couple’s children and start a fashion company, leaving Frank and other members of the family in charge of the restaurants.
In early 2011, the Crinitis paid $ 5.6 million for a six-bedroom mansion called Petalinda in Glenhaven in the Hills district of Sydney, which it sold for $ 9 million at the end of 2014.
Frank and Rima Criniti paid $ 5.6 million for a six-bedroom mansion called Petalinda (photo) in Glenhaven in the Sydney Hills, which they sold at the end of 2014 for $ 9 million
Petalinda has a sauna for 14 people, a tennis court of championship size, a gym and a cellar (photo). The $ 9 million sale in 2014 was a record for the Sydney Hills district
The six-bedroom townhouse in Gilmour Close of Glenhaven has a security system that uses fingerprint scanning technology and a 23-meter indoor swimming pool (photo)
The couple were divorced but reconciled briefly in 2017. Rima, who claimed that Criniti had expanded too quickly and was poorly managed in later years, has since had nothing to do with the company.
Criniti’s specializes in wood-fired pizza, fresh pasta, steaks and ribs, seafood, desserts and cakes. Critics claim that the menu is overloaded.
Shortly after the Woolloomooloo restaurant opened, a reviewer noted sashimi on the menu, along with dozens of pastas, pizzas, meat dishes, salads and risotto’s.
“At Criniti it seems that there is so much need for all possible menu options that hundreds of Italian dishes are apparently not enough,” she wrote.
The Criniti Group was placed in voluntary administration in a collapse last year. Rima partly blamed the accrued debt and the rapid expansion of the chain.
“Although I left the company almost ten years ago, I continued to dine at Criniti’s with my children and always enjoyed the food and experience,” she told Daily Mail Australia in November.
“However, more than fantastic food and hospitality is needed to make a restaurant group a success.”
Customers have left flattering online reviews of Criniti’s food. A dinner wrote about this carbonara: ‘The bacon in the Carbonara had more fat than a sumo wrestler and – after fishing for a few minutes from the terrible, undercooked meat – I can confidently say that the dish was THE worst Carbonara I have ever had , once tasted – and believe me, I tasted a lot ‘
‘It also requires smart management. There are very high costs associated with the hospitality industry, and if this is answered with poor business decisions, the company, its staff and customers will all suffer – as we now see at Criniti. “
After the chain’s failure was announced, customers turned to social media to complain that prices had continued to rise while food and service quality had fallen.
The directors of Criniti Restaurant Group, consisting of 38 companies involved in the operation of the restaurants, have appointed Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants.
Outlets in Manly, Kirrawee and Wollongong in New South Wales, Cannington in Perth and Chermside in Brisbane were closed.
Restaurants in Parramatta, Wetherill Park, Castle Hill, Darling Harbor and Woolloomooloo in Sydney, as well as Kotara in Newcastle and Southbank and Carlton in Melbourne remain open.
The manager of the Criniti has said that the restaurant chain is ‘famous for raising the bar when it comes to interior design’ (photo). Some customers call the decor tasteless
Criniti’s made a four-minute video promoting the opening of their new outlet in Manly, on the northern beaches of Sydney, in June 2013. The Manly restaurant is shown
Criniti’s manager Graeme Beattie has said that high overhead costs and low consumer spending have contributed to the financial problems of the ‘well-known, beloved’ restaurant chain.
“There is some magic in the name of the Criniti, especially the early locations almost reaching an iconic status in the minds of many Australians,” Beattie said in November.
“The level of brand recognition and affinity is extraordinary for a small company of this size and we are convinced that smart investors want to get the name out.”
Mr. Beattie said it was still unclear what exactly led to the downfall of Criniti.
“At this early stage, we must still fully distinguish all the factors that lead to Criniti’s financial problems,” he said.
“The comments from third parties about these factors or the performance of current management, whether it comes from critics or people who were previously involved with the company, should be considered speculation or an uninformed opinion.”
Frank was previously disqualified for managing companies when the Australian Securities and Investments Commission discovered that he had used his position to benefit himself and others and provided incorrect information to the authorities.
He also acted as a de facto director, while he was not appointed as a director and failed to pay $ 3.5 million in taxes.
What the manager says about the collapsed Italian chain of Criniti
The managers of the Criniti have made offers for the design of closed stores
This is the complete statement of Worrell’s Solvency and Forensic Accountants about Criniti’s on November 27:
The managers of the companies that make up the well-known restaurant group prepare a leaner and more hungry Criniti for sale, while the hunt for a new owner is likely to start next week.
Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants NSW & ACT partner Mr. Graeme Beattie said:
“There is some magic in the name of the Criniti, especially the early locations almost reaching an iconic status in the minds of many Australians. The level of brand recognition and affinity is extraordinary for a small company of this size and we are convinced that smart investors want to put the name forward.
“Last week it has been common for most of the Italian restaurants in Criniti, which we expect to sell strongly during the Christmas and New Year period.”
Very soon after their appointment by the directors of the Criniti Group on November 18, 2019, the Worrells team made the difficult but necessary decision to close 5 of the 13 restaurants immediately: Manly, Wollongong and Kirrawee in Sydney, Chermside in Brisbane and Cannington in Perth.
‘Criniti’s is famous for raising the bar with regard to interior design. From Monday, November 25, we have made offers for installations and equipment at those locations that are unable to maintain normal business operations, “said Mr. Beattie.
“The slimmed down Crinitis is again focused on its roots in Sydney. In the original restaurant in Parramatta and the location of the flagship Darling Harbor, trade remained seasonal during this difficult week. Woolloomooloo, Wetherill Park and Castle Hill are open and performing according to plan, while Kotara in Newcastle and the popular Southbank and Carlton locations in Melbourne are also doing well.
“The ability to quickly streamline Criniti’s and put them on the path to sustainability appeals to the variability in our fragile retail economy,” said Mr. Beattie.
“A streamlined, refocused Criniti’s will be well placed to act profitably during the peak hospitality season, so we can perform competitive processes to maximize the return for creditors; direct sale of the company as a going concern and negotiation of a deed of company arrangement. “
In response to questions about the cause of Criniti’s financial distress, Mr. Beattie said: “At this early stage, we must not yet fully distinguish all factors that lead to Criniti’s financial problems. Comments from third parties about these factors or the performance of current management, whether it comes from critics or people who were previously involved with the company, should be considered speculation or an uninformed opinion. “