Home Family feud of 20+ years pits restaurant owners against each other in Facebook spat

Family feud of 20+ years pits restaurant owners against each other in Facebook spat

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A “family feud” spanning two decades has spilled over onto social media in recent days between two cousins who both operate restaurants in the Greater Augusta County region, and the matter may ultimately be addressed in court.

The public spat began on June 14 when Micali’s Trattoria Italian Restaurant, located at 2691 Stuarts Draft Highway in Stuarts Draft, made a public post on its Facebook page accusing Tommy Scotto, best known for operating Scotto’s in Waynesboro, of allowing unhoused individuals to “camp out” on his property adjacent to Micali’s.

The post said that Micali’s was “well aware of the things they have been seen doing, and we know this looks very bad for our business, especially since it has been witnessed from our parking lot.”

The post continued: “This is not our property.”

According to Micali’s post, the small lot belongs to Scotto, who, according to the post, “sent them here and is allowing them to stay on his property even when he is aware of their behavior.”

“We apologize, but there is nothing we can do,” Micali’s wrote in the post.

The post then shared Scotto’s personal cell phone number and business phone number and told patrons to “feel free” to call Scotto or the police department with complaints.

To date, there are 34 comments and 64 shares of the post. Comments on the post threaten to boycott the newly reopened Scotto’s Restaurant in Waynesboro, which closed during the pandemic but re-opened this month.

Scotto addressed the feud and accusations in another post on his restaurant’s Facebook page.

“It is sad to see, for lack of a better word … a long time ‘family feud’ become so public which was restarted by the other party, not me, by slandering me and the restaurant publicly when the restaurant reopened.

“For those who call my personal phone number that was advertised, know that I have been advised to record your number and report it to the authorities as what was published and how it was published is illegal. I am proud to say that I have done nothing illegal and will continue to stand proud.”

Micali’s Trattoria Italian Restaurant’s manager Melissa Lowery, in a Messenger chat with AFP, alleged that Scotto moved a couple that used to panhandle off the interstate to his property in Stuarts Draft “knowing the trouble they were and what this would mean for us.”

She said the restaurant has been fielding phone calls from angry people in Stuarts Draft who have witnessed the couple smoking meth, provoking fights and causing other problems.

The phone calls, she said, have interfered with running the business – and hurt the business – which she said “was his (Scotto’s) plan.”

Lowery said they have reached out to the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office regarding the problem but they have been told “there is nothing they can do” because the property owner is allowing the couple to stay there.

Scotto, for his part, is focused on the successful re-launch of his business.

“I’m certain the motive was to interfere with the successful opening that we did experience and continue to experience and for that I am very grateful,” the response read on Facebook.

“We will not entertain a rebuttal to the slander and will not participate in the negativity. We will stand proud as to who we are and who we represent.”

In a chat with AFP through Messenger, Scotto’s Italian Restaurant declined further comment saying in part that “we are taking a legal route in this situation.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.