Subway stuck to claims on Saturday that company executives never received warnings the sandwich chain's former spokesman Jared Fogle was a pedophile. A spokeswoman also distanced the company from the former CEO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, Jeff Moody, whom a former franchisee claimed to have warned about Fogle.
Company officials reaffirmed their position to The Huffington Post after a former franchise owner, Cindy Mills, alleged she'd told Moody that Fogle talked about paying for sex with minors. But Subway's carefully worded statement left open the possibility that Fogle's sexual interest in minors was the subject of concern among people involved with the vast restaurant chain.
Subway dropped Fogle as a spokesman after authorities raided his home in a child pornography investigation in July. He accepted a plea deal for charges of child pornography and paying for sex with minors earlier this month.
Mills, who owned a sandwich shop in Florida from 2006 to 2012, said she tried raising a red flag about Fogle to Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust CEO Jeff Moody. Fogle incessantly harassed her soon after they met at a Subway event, she claimed, and encouraged her to offer sexual services on Craigslist.
A Subway spokeswoman told HuffPost on Saturday that Moody technically was not "a member of the Subway management team" and never aired concerns about Fogle to anyone who was.
“Jeff Moody did not work for Subway’s corporate offices and was never a member of the SUBWAY® management team. If he, or any of his staff, ever received complaints about Jared Fogle, he did not escalate them to Subway’s management team," the statement said. "Jeff served as the CEO of the Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, a separate franchisee-run organization that operated at a separate address and with a separate staff from Subway corporate.
"As previously stated, we have no record of Cindy Mill’s [sic] complaint to Jeff Moody. We are continuing our investigation into this matter.”
Though the statement depicts a stark separation between Subway's corporate office and the franchisee advertising wing, an Associated Press article makes the connections sound closer:
At the time, Moody was CEO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, which handles the company’s marketing. The fund was controlled by franchisees at the time, according to Blue MauMau, a site for franchisees. But after 2010, Subway took control of it.
The trust, which was the entity that employed Fogle, is legally separate from Subway, Business Insider reported. Subway's website, however, indicates the American branch of the trust shared a corporate address with Subway's Connecticut headquarters.
Mills said Moody refused to listen to her complaint. Moody is now the CEO of Rita's Italian Ice. Calls and emails to the company Saturday were not immediately returned. In a statement on Friday, Moody claimed that he first learned about Fogle's "deplorable criminal sexual behavior with minors" this summer.