A feud between Twin Cities restaurateur Thom Pham and his adoptive siblings will likely be resolved in the courts next spring.
Pham, owner of the recently opened Wondrous Azian Kitchen, has accused his sisters (who are also his former employees) of embezzling a quarter-million dollars and stealing his secret recipes.
Pham's sisters -- Grace Ray, Hannah Johnson, and Charis Fishbein -- rebut the accusations, and instead suggest the animosity stems from an inflated ego and some bad business decisions, reports the Star Tribune. According to the sisters, all of Pham's ventures after Thanh Do have flopped.
Documents from the St. Louis Park Police Department offer some strange details into how the family feud has unfolded:[jump]
Pham originally called police in April 2009 to report a theft. Pham explained that "two employees" had secretly opened a bank account in Thanh Do's name; he for some reason failed to mention that these two employees were also his sisters.
A few days later, Pham called police again and asked them to suspend the investigation.
Almost a year later, an attorney representing Pham called police and asked them to re-open the investigation. Liz Grezechowiak, Pham's executive assistant, called back a couple days later and made the same request. From the police report:
She asked me why I had not finished my investigation and I informed her that Pham had called it off. In addition I stated that as a normal course of business, we would not, after one year, reopen the investigation.
Here's an excerpt from another report authored by the same officer, who sounds a little frustrated:
Upon arriving at work this morning I found that the case had been assigned to me to investigate. I asked Sgt. Meyer why and he replied that Grezechowiak had called him on March 17, 2010 and told him that I really wanted to investigate the matter but I needed his permission...I then received a phone call from Grezechowiak. I asked why she had told Sgt. Meyer that I was eager to investigate the matter when it was now a year old. She told me that she had collected everything I needed and that she was making everything simple for me. She again told me that we should do 'do coffee' and she would give me everything I needed in the way of documents.
Perhaps the strangest part of the reports comes when the officer attempts to interview Pham. From the report:
I then called Pham who told me that his English was very poor and asked me to talk to Grezechowiak.Pham has lived in the United States since high school, and, though he has an accent, actually speaks English quite well.
Pham and his sisters are scheduled to appear in court April of next year. The sisters held a fundraiser at their restaurant, A Wok in the Park, last Sunday to raise money for legal fees.