DENNIS MASON Franchise Lawsuits, Controversies, Aliases & Warning

Franchise salesman Dennis Mason runs dozens of ads on Craig’s List and sells the NY Bagel Café franchise (as “Denis Maason” or “Keith Samuels”), and, apparently, the Horn & Hardart franchise (as “David Malin”).  When we looked into possible reasons why Dennis Mason doesn’t use his real name or company name (Franchises Ventures, Inc. of Frenchtown, NJ), we found a trail of failed franchises, franchise litigation, bankruptcies, defunct franchisors and enforcement actions.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  If you have inquired about a NY Bagel Café franchise or Horn & Hardart franchise, you may have interacted with one of franchising’s most controversial salesman, Dennis K. Mason, without even knowing it.

Dennis Mason uses a variety of aliases and phone numbers that change with time and with franchise concept.

We have asked Dennis Mason to provide an explanation as to why he uses aliases in his franchise advertising and sales efforts, but have not, so far, received a response.  We have also invited him to provide corrections, clarifications, explanations or rebuttals to the list that follows. If you have worked with Dennis Mason in the past, we invite you to provide your opinion – good or otherwise- either below or by emailing us in confidence at UnhappyFranchisee[at]

When he’s partnering with NY-based Joe Smith to sell NY Bagel Café franchise opportunities, Dennis Mason might be using the name “Keith Samuels” or “Denis Maason.”

Recently, ads on Craig’s list for Horn & Hardart, a brand that has twice before surfaced and failed, direct readers to contact a “David Malin” at Dennis Mason’s phone number.

Why Does Dennis Mason Hide His Identity?

Dennis Mason has a long history of franchising controversies, going back 20+ years.

Many of the franchise companies he reportedly sold for are no longer in business or no longer selling franchises, including Mike Schmidt’s Philadelphia Hoagies, Petrucci’s Dairy Barn, Morrone’s Italian Ice, Frozen Dessert Systems LLC, Amazon Café, Planet Hoagie,  Laser Lube, The Brake Shop, and others.

Mention of either his earlier corporation, Franchises Unlimited Inc., or present one, Franchises Unlimited Inc., draw angry comments from the growing numbers of franchisees who feel they were tricked by Mason into paying franchise fees for franchises that would either never open, or would open and fail.

Common Dennis Mason complaints include:

  1. That Dennis Mason provides illegal earnings claims and say just about anything to close a sale,
  2. That Dennis Mason and his partner companies do not provide legally required information, such as the number of stores that failed or never opened, and do not furnish required legal documents, and
  3. That Dennis Mason and his partners (especially NY Bagel Café and Joe Smith) make false promises in order to collect franchise fees, then refuse to return them despite agreeing to do so.

Dennis Mason’s modus operandi is to partner with a small franchisor in the Northeast, like Joe Smith (NY Bagel Café & Deli).  The franchisors provide the appearance of a small, successful, growing chain with attractive stores.

It’s alleged that the franchisors and Mason hide abysmally high failure rates and the many stores that have opened – and closed – in the past.  They split the upfront franchise fees, which typically range from $17,500 to $29,500, sometimes paying pet franchisees a fee to play along.

We tried to track down all of the franchise lawsuits and controversies involving Dennis K. Mason from publicly available sources.  Here’s a working list of what we’ve found so far.


Is Dennis K. Mason Hiding His Two Bankruptcies?

One possible reason for Kwench franchise salesman Dennis Mason’s many assumed names is that people may be less willing to invest with someone who claims to be financially successful, but has filed for bankruptcy twice:

1987  Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – Dennis Mason


Dennis Kenneth Mason Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Case type: bk Chapter: 7  Judge: Judith H. Wizmur

Date filed: 01/08/1987  Date discharged: 08/07/1987

2009  Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – Dennis Mason

09-11934-KCF Dennis Mason

Case type: bk Chapter: 7 Asset: No Vol: v Judge: Kathryn C. Ferguson

Date filed: 01/29/2009 Date of last filing: 06/17/2009  Debtor discharged: 05/20/2009   Date terminated: 06/17/2009

Is Dennis Mason Hiding His Bad Franchise Press?

There are a number of franchise stories throughout the years in which franchisees allege that Dennis Mason sold them on deeply flawed franchises by providing illegal earnings claims and withholding  potential risks. Mason may be trying to keep franchise prospect from Googling his name and seeing the bad press.

Back in 1997,  Mason was featured in a story on the failed Mike Schmidt’s Philadelphia Hoagies franchise.  The story is still visible online:

Franchisees Strike Out Despite Hall Of Fame Name

The Mousleys had operated one of 10 franchises bearing the Schmidt name, all in eastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Now, all but one of them have closed – victims of lagging sales and, the franchisees say, too little help from the company… Four franchisees in the group were forced to close their stores and are preparing to file for bankruptcy.

They also are preparing to sue Mike Schmidt’s Philadelphia Hoagies and its owners, Richard Speeney and his sons, alleging misrepresentation, deception and possible fraud. They also plan to sue Dennis Mason, the salesman who sold them the franchises… Mason said he was not liable, because he had given the franchisees the information given to him by the franchiser.

2011, NorthJersey.Com published this story involving Mason and NY Bagel Café:

Rutherford bagel franchisor accused of fraud.

A Pennsylvania couple has accused a Rutherford-based bagel franchise company of defrauding them into buying a franchise by inflating possible revenue and low-balling costs.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, alleges that New York Bagel Enterprises Inc. gave misleading, fraudulent and incomplete information in its sales pitch. The couple seeks more than $1 million in damages…

The suit says that Dennis Mason told them that “franchised locations were earning $10,000 to $15,000 a week,” but their store earned only $4,200 to $4,900 a week.

New York Bagel provided a franchise disclosure document that said the cost of building a store would be $27,500 to $60,000, and the equipment would cost $22,000 to $38,000, the suit says. But it says the couple has so far spent $230,000 on the business, including $108,000 to build the store, and $55,000 on equipment…

“After opening, plaintiffs learned that many of the oral and written communications and documents upon which they relied were false and deceptive,” the suit says.

More recently, Unhappy Franchisee has published Dennis Mason Franchise Complaints.

Is Dennis Mason Hiding His Early Franchise Litigation?

DGG Inc. et al v. Motorwerks Inc, Dennis Mason, Franchises Unlimited et al

Filed     7/10/1997

Demand     $250,000

Nature of Suit     190 – Contract: Other  County     Baltimore County


Dennis Mason franchise litigation2000 
Stewart, Michele S., MSDS Holdings, Inc.  vs. Petrucci’s Franchising, Inc., Petrucci, Michael W., Petrucci, Michael D., Mason, Dennis, Franchises Unlimited, Inc.

Stewart et al v. Petrucci’s Franchising, Inc. et al
Date filed: 12/26/2000 Date of last filing: 04/10/2003

Date terminated: 04/10/2003


That’s The Scoop Enterprises, Inc.  vs.  Petrucci’s Franchising, Inc. , Petrucci, Michael D. ,  Petrucci, Michael W. , Mason, Dennis,  Franchises Unlimited, Inc.

Office: Camden          Filed:       12/26/2000

County:          Terminated:       11/09/2001


2007  Abate v. Amazon Systems, L.L.C., et al, case number AAA 14 114 Y 00399 07

American Arbitration Association

Is Dennis Mason Hiding His NY Bagel Cafe Franchise Litigation (Joe Smith)


The lawsuit states:

When Cunningham inquired about purchasing an NY Bagel franchise in the Summer of 2009, Defendant Mason told him that NY Bagel franchised stores were earning $10 ,000 to $15,000 per week in revenue.
When Cunningham visited franchised locations in September 2009 with Mason and Smith, Mason repeated the representation that franchised locations were earning $10,000 to $15,000 per week…
After opening the franchise, Plaintiffs learned that the financial performance representations, the representations about food costs, and representations in the FDD were false, misleading, and often incomplete…
In total, Plaintiffs have invested and lost roughly $230,000 in the business and Cunningham has taken on personal lease obligations of which roughly $150,000 remain…

Jhagroop v. New York Bagel Franchise, et al, case number 2008-01358

Supreme Court of the State of New York, Orange County

Huebner v. NY Bagel Dennis MasonNY Bagel franchise litigation:  In 2013, an arbitrator awarded Rockaway, NJ franchisee Min Huebner $385,000 in  Dennis Mason was named as a co-defendant.

NY Bagel franchise litigation: According to NJ resident Mohamed Elsaid, he was sold a NY Bagel franchise in 2011 by Dennis Mason & Joe Smith.  His contract stated that his franchise fee was refundable if he failed to get funding but they refused to honor the agreement.  He took them to court and won a judgement but has been unsuccessful in collecting.


NY Bagel Café franchise litigation:  Franchisees sued New York Bagel Enterprises Inc. for fraud & violations of the NJ franchise Act after paying a $29,500 franchise fee.  They also claimed that the franchisor entity is not valid since NJ revoked its corporate status, allegedly nullifying the franchise agreement.  See RIMA ALBARQAWI, BASSAM M. BARQAWI, BASIL M. ALBARQAWI Plaintiffs vs. NEW YORK BAGEL ENTERPRISES, INC. AND JOE SMITH

2015 Dennis Mason Guilty of Violating Maryland Franchise Laws – Hit with Permanent Cease & Desist

On 10/8/15, The Office of the Attorney General of Maryland issued a Final Order to Cease and Desist In the Matter of: NY Bagel Enterprises, Inc., SMS, Inc., Joseph V. Smith, Dennis Kenneth Mason, finding that Dennis Mason has continued his pattern of disregarding franchise laws and deceiving would-be franchisees with illegal earnings claims.

The Order reads, in part:

Dennis Kenneth Mason (“Mason”) is a franchise sales agent or broker for franchise offerings, including New York Bagel Cafe & Deli…

In March 2015 “Mike H,” a Maryland resident… called the number listed in the Craigslist advertisement and spoke to Dennis Mason.

Mason told Mike H that by purchasing a New York Bagel Cafe & Deli, his cafe could earn $1,500 per day….

On April 23, 2015, Mike H entered into a “License Agreement”…  paid SMS an initial fee of $17,500, and agreed to pay ongoing royalties of $500 per month…

Respondents NY Bagel, SMS, Smith, and Mason violated section 14-228 of the Maryland Franchise Law by advertising, offering and selling in Maryland a franchise as defined under section 14-201 of the Maryland Franchise Law without registering the franchise with the Commissioner as required under the Maryland Franchise Law.

42. Respondents Smith, Mason and SMS violated section 14-223 of the Maryland -7- Franchise Law by offering and selling in Maryland a franchise without giving the prospective franchisee a copy of the offering prospectus required under the Maryland Franchise Law.

43. Respondents NY Bagel, SMS, Smith, and Mason violated section 14-229 of the Maryland Franchise Law by making material misrepresentations of fact and/or omissions of material fact about the New York Bagel Cafe & Deli franchise offering.

44. Respondents Mason and SMS violated 14-229 of the Maryland Franchise Law and COMAR by making oral or written statements concerning the potential earnings from operation of a New York Bagel Cafe & Deli franchise without making the required disclosures about those potential earnings in the offering prospectus given to a prospective franchisee.

After looking over Dennis Mason’s 20+ year history of franchise controversies, the reason he hides his real identity is pretty clear.

The question is:  Why is he allowed to keep getting away with it?

UnhappyFranchisee.Com will be happy to provide a free review of any documents and correspondence for these companies from prospective franchisees.

If interested, just email unhappyfranchisee[at]



DENNIS MASON Franchise Complaints

Joe Smith, Dennis Mason & NY Bagel Café Franchise Exposed: 10 Things You Should Know




TAGS:  Dennis Mason, Dennis K. Mason, Anthony Stewart, Ken Mason, Keith Samuels, Denis Maason,  NY Bagel Cafe franchise, Horn & Hardart franchise

2 thoughts on “DENNIS MASON Franchise Lawsuits, Controversies, Aliases & Warning

  • yostink

    When I heard the name malinksy I was expecting something straight out of the story book like a ooopa loopa. These guys must be stopped at all cost!!!! They might be the worst franchise offender in the business.

  • yostink

    As people catch on these franchise fees seems to be drying up leaving Chris looking a little emaciated. Thank god for the Internet.

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