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Why The Benihana Founder Sued His Own Kids
Immediately following the Benihana founder Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki's marriage to Keiko Ono in 2002, his children unsuccessfully tried to convince her to sign a post-nuptial agreement. When that failed, they convinced Aoki on signing an amendment securing their control over the Benihana trust while ensuring Ono would receive nothing in the event of Aoki's death.
However, the agreement quickly angered Aoki and he sued four of his seven children in 2006, over the Benihana fortune dispute. Naming his eldest children, Kevin, Grace, Echo, and Kyle in the suit, he accused them of trying to "wrest control" of the company away from him. He disinherited them from his fortune, amending his will to give Ono almost complete control of his estate.
The lawsuit was never settled, and contentious legal battles continued between Ono and Aoki's children following his death in 2008. In 2014, Aoki's heirs eventually regained legal control of their father's estate, but Ono has still retained significant control over their 50 million dollar inheritance as a trustee.