The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

April 25, 2011

Flav’s Fried Chicken closes

CLINTON — Reality TV star and rapper Flavor Flav and Clinton restaurateur Nick Cimino made national news in January when they opened Flav’s Fried Chicken in Clinton. Now, exactly three months later, that business venture is over.

 FFC officially closed Sunday. Although the partnership and friendship between Flav and Cimino has ended, it appears the fight over future restaurants has just started.

According to TMZ.com, Flav plans to open up a restaurant in Las Vegas soon, without Cimino as a co-owner. However, Cimino said Sunday that the business partnership between him and Flav was constructed with 40 percent ownership for Cimino, and 60 percent ownership for Flav, on all future establishments. Cimino plans to take legal action against the celebrity.

“I can‘t be partners with Flav anymore,” Cimino said. “People need to know about him. He put the restaurant in danger. He came here and didn’t know anything about the restaurant business.”

In an interview with WQAD-TV, Flav said Sunday he is shutting the doors because “Cimino isn’t running the business right,” and employees were not getting paid.

FFC first found trouble when allegations surfaced a couple of weeks ago in which former employees said they weren’t being paid. Cimino said a mistake happened with a credit card machine and claimed all wages have since been paid.

On Sunday, TMZ reported that Flav was pulling his name from FFC, because Cimino “mismanaged” the place and gave Flav a “bad reputation.”

Cimino says those claims are untrue, saying no licensing agreement was discussed between the pair, and said he decided to shut down the restaurant.

Also in the interview with TMZ, Flav said he found potato salad expired during a trip to the restaurant April 2. Cimino and employees Mike Wright and Carlos Hutchinson, denied those claims.

“I’m prepping everyday and I make sure all those sides are done and kept fresh,” Hutchinson said. “He’s using Nick as a scapegoat and it’s not right. Celebrities can’t just run over people, regardless of how much fame you have.”

That issue, along with Cimino’s claims that Flav didn’t provide cash to the operation, his alleged lack of restaurant ownership knowledge, Flav’s alleged drug use, absenteeism and other instances like allegedly costing the business $14,000 by wanting to change the oil every hour, were reasons to shut down FFC, Cimino said.

The popularity of the restaurant, which Cimino said was pulling in enough profit, was not a reason to close.

“(Flav) takes credit for everything and he has to be stopped,” Cimino said. “He will keep doing this to other communities. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. He didn’t know what was going on with the business, he confused everybody and he wanted to switch how I ran the business. He was supposed to be here for appearances and run with the public.”

Flav is also not selling wings out of Peter Cimino’s Las-Vegas based Mama Cimino’s anymore. That establishment was where Nick and Flav met, and conjured up the idea for FFC in Clinton. Nick admits the ingredients used for the fried chicken are Flav’s, but said the other parts of the menu and design are his idea.

“I want to apologize to the Clinton community for bringing such an imposter and fraud into Clinton,” Nick said.

Flav made more headlines in the last three months by saying he wanted to film a reality show of him earning a diploma from an area high school. Clinton High School and Central DeWitt High School denied the reality show. Also, during his last visit in April, reality show crews were in town to pitch a new reality show surrounding FFC in Clinton.

Nick, who has run Mama Cimino’s in Clinton for seven years, does not have any plans for the FFC building, 916 N. Second St.

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