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Subway Terminates Franchise Owner for Lewd Marketing

THE BRONX (Blue MauMau) - A disgruntled Subway franchise owner, who was terminated earlier this month, has moved his sandwich shop and will now offer foot longs in the front and hardcore nude lap dances in the back.

In a brochure circulated around Westchester Square to attract new customers, Subway ex-franchise owner, Anthony “Vinny” Agnello invites customers to a subway sandwich and a lap dance. He explains in the flier,"This was a Subway franchise up until May 2008 when we were disenfranchised due to politics and differences of opinion as far as marketing is concerned."

Cousin Vinny admits he isn't much for following Subway Sandwich rules

Agnello markets the contrast of the Subway brand's diurnal wholesomeness with the naughtiness of nocturnal nude lap dancing. "At 10 PM Wednesday through Saturday this seemingly harmless sub shop becomes the wildly, exotic and explicit, all nude private club, 'Cousin Vinny's Little Secret',” he writes in the flier.

When asked for the specifics of why he was terminated as a franchise operator, Agnello told Blue MauMau, “I cannot follow Subway rules. I've been running women for f***ing 16 years. I can't listen and follow instructions.”

The ability to follow operating manuals and marketing instructions to a tee is considered highly important in operating a franchise because customers expect a uniform service and look.

Vinny Agnello has a checkered history. In 2001 his firm, Gorgeous Stripper Plus, provided a 31-year-old woman to strip for a group of under-aged high school boys in the affluent town of Chappaqua. In October of 2003, Vinny was arrested and charged with prostituting a 17-year-old girl to have intercourse with male customers. In 2004, he was busted for arranging two prostitutes to have sex with a john.

He has been on various national news media like CNN, Fox News and others, ridiculing his detractors as being sexually repressed and hypocritical.

But in 2007, Agnello says, “I tried to go legit.”

When the costs of running an exotic dance business rocketed upwards, Vinny decided that the economies of scale that a franchise could provide in keeping purchasing costs down was an answer that an independent business could not compete with. He just needed to decide what franchise chain best fit him.

Vinny states, “The last time I had a legitimate job was when I was 19 at a Subway restaurant in Danbury, Connecticut. [I thought] wouldn't that be nostalgic. I'll buy a Subway."

And that he did. According to Vinny, he had enough money that he had saved from his strip dancing and escort services.

Mr. Agnello describes how Doctor's Associates Inc., the company who operates the Subway chain of some 29,355 sub shops in 86 countries, failed to investigate his business background or criminal record. “Imagine that a guy like me can sneak into Corporate America,” he says. “I have an arrest record that stretches from here to Timbuktu."

All went well until the end of his initial training session last year. Caught up in the spirit of graduating at a cocktail party, Vinny says he passed out business cards of his strippers for the enjoyment of his classmates and Doctor's Associates staff. He notes that the Subway sandwich chain's CEO, Mr. Fred DeLuca was in attendance.

“The next day they said it was a moral violation and they escorted me off the grounds,” says Mr. Agnello. According to him, Doctor's Associates, Inc. relented. He could be an owner-operator if he signed a morals agreement. Firms require the signing of a morals agreement or clause to strengthen termination when they anticipate that a franchise owner could cause public embarrassment to the firm.

Vinny states he was specifically instructed to not promote strip clubs or lewd services at a Subway restaurant or function.

This year a representative of the company visited Vinny's Subway restaurant in May. His restaurant walls had posters of sex dolls, nude dancing services and memorabilia of Mr. Agnello's own colorful media history. At first he was given a 60-day cure period to fix the violations of store operating standards but according to him, the legal department decided to promptly terminate his franchise agreement instead.

Vinny feels that he is protected from retribution from the Subway chain since the company thought he signed a morals agreement but he actually did not. “The district representative never made me sign any such morals agreement,” he adds.

Agnello confirmed that the letter printed in gossip blogsite Gawker was the actual wording of his brochure to announce his new business. The flier concludes, "Cannot remember our phone number? Simply call information for the number to the Subway Restaurant on East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx! Hope to see you soon!"

Despite his abrupt termination as a franchise owner, Vinny is hopeful he will come out on top. “Subway has me in arbitration but they are going to lose,” says Vinny with confidence.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Doctor's Associates, Inc. on Monday, June 2 told Blue MauMau that they could not comment on this story as the case is in arbitration.


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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Contact him at +1 (270) 321-1268, @bluemaumau or