PDA

View Full Version : Chilli anyone?



TeamCasey
03-24-2005, 02:58 PM
Local officials launch probe after incident at Wendy's

Reuters
Updated: 11:06 a.m. ET March 24, 2005


SAN FRANCISCO - A diner at a Wendy’s fast food restaurant in San Jose, California, found a human finger in a bowl of chili prepared by the chain, local officials said.

“This individual apparently did take a spoonful, did have a finger in their mouth and then, you know, spit it out and recognized it,” said Ben Gale, director of the department of environmental health for Santa Clara County. “Then they had some kind of emotional reaction and vomited.”

Local officials launched an investigation after the incident on Tuesday night and the medical examiner determined on Wednesday that the object was a human finger.

Officials are trying to determine if the finger came in the raw materials Wendy’s used to prepare the chili, Gale said.

Wendy’s International Inc. corporate office did not immediately return a call for comment. Wendy’s is the third-largest hamburger chain.

ochre
03-24-2005, 02:59 PM
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Woman_finds_human_finger_in_bowl_of_chili_at_Wendy %27s_restaurant

According to Ben Gale, director of environmental health for Santa Clara County, the finger did not come from any of the employees at the restaurant. "We asked everybody to show us they have 10 fingers and everything is OK there," he said. The found portion of the finger likely belonged to a woman because of its long and manicured fingernail, also found in the food.

GoReds
03-24-2005, 03:00 PM
Where did the meat come from? The deep jungles of Africa???

There was always something a bit strange about Wendy's chili - just nothing I could really put my finger in.

ochre
03-24-2005, 03:03 PM
my thread was first. Sorry.

zombie-a-go-go
03-24-2005, 03:06 PM
Wendys' gets their chili meat from hamburgers cooked during a rush period that nobody purchased.

Harrumph. And they said a diploma from Hamburger University was worthleess...

GoReds
03-24-2005, 03:12 PM
Maybe it's Wendy's attempt to join the electronics age and go "digital".

RFS62
03-24-2005, 03:18 PM
They plump when ya cook 'em.

Steve4192
03-24-2005, 03:21 PM
They plump when ya cook 'em.
RFS62, you owe me a new keyboard. Mine is currently covered in Pepsi.

P.S. That stuff stings like the dickens when it comes shooting out of your nose.

RFS62
03-24-2005, 03:30 PM
That usually happens when I'm being serious.

pedro
03-24-2005, 03:41 PM
I'm never eating food again.




At least until lunch.

TeamCasey
03-24-2005, 03:44 PM
my thread was first. Sorry.

Didn't see it. My bad. Can you spell chili right, so I don't look like a dork? :) ;)

Larkin Fan
03-24-2005, 03:44 PM
Appetizing.

ochre
03-24-2005, 04:13 PM
Didn't see it. My bad. Can you spell chili right, so I don't look like a dork? :) ;)
no worries. Your's might have been first, I was just trash talking :)

Chip R
03-24-2005, 04:16 PM
I never realized chili was finger food. ;)

TeamCasey
03-24-2005, 04:19 PM
no worries. Your's might have been first, I was just trash talking :)

Me too.

TC81190
03-24-2005, 04:32 PM
There was always something a bit strange about Wendy's chili - just nothing I could really put my finger in.

Did everyone else miss that? :MandJ:

TRF
03-24-2005, 04:35 PM
Wendys' gets their chili meat from hamburgers cooked during a rush period that nobody purchased.

Harrumph. And they said a diploma from Hamburger University was worthleess...

I worked at wendy's as a teenager. I confirm this as true.

which really makes you wonder...

RedFanAlways1966
03-24-2005, 05:25 PM
I still remember the "Wendy's uses earthworms instead of ground beef" rumors from my youth.

Probably be a nice payday for the poor sucka who tasted that finger. Makes me wonder how many other things get by the FDA or whomever. For a finger to make it into a cooked bowl of chili that was served to a customer, I'd have to assume that there are all kinds of other things getting digested by humans. Oh well... whatcha don't know, "probably" won't hurt ya. Beef, pork, sheep, human... all about the same when ya get right down to it. Right?

No... I am not a veggie. And I do not plan on having lunch at Wendy's anytime soon!

GoReds
03-24-2005, 05:27 PM
Probably be a nice payday for the poor sucka who tasted that finger.

What about the former owner of the finger?

RFS62
03-24-2005, 05:33 PM
Wonder where the rest of the body turned up?

RedsBaron
03-24-2005, 05:51 PM
Wonder where the rest of the body turned up?
Order the "biggie" chili.

RFS62
03-24-2005, 06:12 PM
Order the "biggie" chili.


Oh man.

:help:

Larkin Fan
03-24-2005, 06:18 PM
Wonder where the rest of the body turned up?

In that hamburger you just ate.

RFS62
03-24-2005, 06:21 PM
In that hamburger you just ate.


mmmmmmmmmmm

special sauce

RFS62
03-24-2005, 06:22 PM
"Hold the fingers, hold the lettuce

Special orders don't upset us"

TeamCasey
03-24-2005, 06:31 PM
Order the "biggie" chili.

Oh my! :eek: :MandJ:

Reds/Flyers Fan
03-24-2005, 06:51 PM
Yet another reason to be vegetarian.

What's worse? The Wendy's finger or the fried rat that was found in a bucket of KFC chicken a few years back? As gross as it is, I would probably opt for the finger.

Steve4192
03-24-2005, 06:59 PM
What's worse? The Wendy's finger or the fried rat that was found in a bucket of KFC chicken a few years back? As gross as it is, I would probably opt for the finger.
I'll opt for the rat.

I've probably eaten a couple pounds of rat in my lifetime, in the guise of bologna, hot dogs, and hamburger.

I'm sure the USDA/FDA have established tolerable levels of 'foreign' proteins in any manufactured meat product. That, in and of of itself, is an admission that stuff happens and the occasional rodent finds it's way into a grinder.

RFS62
03-24-2005, 07:00 PM
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm....... good bass.

Raisor
03-24-2005, 09:25 PM
On the bright side, they DO have signs that say "Employees MUST wash hands before returning to work".

So, the finger was probably clean, and stuff.

I'd like to point out that I did, in fact, have some Wendy's Chili yesterday.

I am now going to go throw the heck up.

UKFlounder
03-24-2005, 10:10 PM
I'd like to point out

At least until your food points back. :eek:

cincinnati chili
03-25-2005, 12:12 AM
At least until your food points back. :eek:

tee hee hee

Roy Tucker
03-25-2005, 09:59 AM
Perhaps they can now borrow the KFC "finger lickin' good" motto?

TeamCasey
04-08-2005, 10:52 AM
Finger-in-chili investigation widens
Authorities search home of woman who made claim

The Associated Press
Updated: 7:21 a.m. ET April 8, 2005


SAN JOSE, Calif. - Investigators searched the Las Vegas home of a woman who claimed she scooped up a mouthful of finger along with her chili at a Wendy’s restaurant last month.

City police, working with their counterparts in Las Vegas, served the warrant Wednesday as they investigated how a finger ended up in Anna Ayala’s bowl of chili.

“We are looking into every aspect in this case,” San Jose police spokeswoman Gina Tepoorten said. “We are talking to people she knows as well as the finder of the finger. ... We want to determine who this finger belongs to and how it ended up in a bowl of chili.”

Police would not say what was listed in the warrant.

Ayala, 39, was at the San Jose restaurant March 22 when she claimed she scooped up the 1½-long fingertip. She later filed a claim with the franchise owner, Fresno, Calif.-based JEM Management Corp.

“Just knowing that there was a human remain in my mouth ... it is disgusting. It is tearing me apart inside,” Ayala told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 28.

Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini would not comment on the police investigation.

There was no answer at a home phone number listed for an Anna Ayala in Las Vegas. However, she told the San Jose Mercury News she would like to know what police were looking for in her home.

“I’ve been dragged through the mud,” she said. “We’ve been treated like animals. I’ve been through too much.”

On Thursday, Wendy’s announced it would give a $50,000 reward to the first person providing verifiable information leading to the positive identification of the origin of the finger.

“It’s very important to our company to find out the truth in this incident,” said Tom Mueller, Wendy’s president and chief operating officer.

Wendy’s maintains the finger did not enter the food chain in its ingredients. All the employees at the San Jose store were found to have all their fingers, and no suppliers of Wendy’s ingredients have reported any hand or finger injuries, the company said.

The Santa Clara County coroner’s office, using a partial fingerprint to attempt to find a match in an electronic database, came up empty. DNA testing is still being conducted.

Johnny Footstool
04-08-2005, 11:09 AM
Investigators searched the Las Vegas home of a woman who claimed she scooped up a mouthful of finger along with her chili at a Wendy’s restaurant last month.

http://www.madmacgames.com/images/images_big/CSI.jpg

GoReds
04-08-2005, 12:21 PM
Seems like everyone is pointing a, er, um, FINGER at everyone else.

Just wish they'd all just chili out.

RedFanAlways1966
04-09-2005, 10:04 AM
Hmmm. A history of suing. Sued another restaurant a year ago! I know who my finger is pointing at now.

Wendy's Accuser Has Litigious History
By Ken Ritter (AP)

Las Vegas - The woman who claims she bit into a human finger while eating chili at a Wendy's restaurant has a history of filing lawsuits - incluidng a claim against another fast-food restaurant.

Anna Ayala, 39, who hired a San Jose, Calif., attorney to represent her in the Wendy's case, has been involved in at least half a dozen legal battles in the San Francisco Bay area, according to court records.

She brought a lawsuit against an ex-boss in 1998 for sexual harassment and sued an auto dealership in 2000, alleging the wheel fell off her car. That lawsuit was dismissed after Ayala fired her attorney.

Ayala claimed Friday police are out to get her and were unnecessarily rough as they executed a search warrant at her home on Wednesday.

"Lies, lies, lies, that's all I am hearing," she said. "They should look at Wendy's. Why are we being victimized again and again?"

Ayala acknowledged, however, that her family received a settlement for their medical expenses about a year ago after her daughter, Genesis, got sick from food at an El Pollo restaurant in Las Vegas.

San Jose police have joined the Las Vegas police fraud unit in the investigation into how a 1-1/2 inch-long fingertip ended up in Ayala's bowl of chili at the San Jose Wendy's on March 22. Ayala has sued the franchise owner.

A Wendy's spokesman would not comment on the investigation Friday.

GoReds
04-13-2005, 10:07 AM
She's dropping the lawsuit...


Woman who claimed to find finger in chili won't sue Wendy's

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 Posted: 6:47 AM EDT (1047 GMT)


SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- A woman who claimed she scooped up a human finger along with her chili at a Wendy's restaurant has decided not to sue the fast-food chain.

Anna Ayala dropped her claim because it "has caused her great emotional distress and continues to be difficult emotionally," said her attorney, Jeffrey Janoff.

Ayala, 39, claimed she found the 11/2-inch long fingertip on March 22 while dining at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose. She later filed a claim with the franchise owner, Fresno-based JEM Management Corp., which her attorney had said was the first step before filing a lawsuit.

Phone calls to Ayala's house went unanswered Tuesday. Investigators searched her Las Vegas home last week as part of their investigation into how a finger ended up in the chili.

Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch declined to comment on Ayala's decision to drop the lawsuit but said a reward hot line to receive tips will remain open. Wendy's has offered $50,000 to the first person who can provide verifiable information that identifies the origin of the finger.

"It's very important to us to find out what really happened at the restaurant," Lynch said. "We will continue to fully cooperate with the police investigation."

Wendy's maintains the finger did not enter the food chain in its ingredients. None of the employees at the San Jose store had lost any fingers, and no suppliers of Wendy's ingredients reported any hand or finger injuries, the company said.

The Santa Clara County coroner's office used a partial fingerprint to search for a match in an electronic database but came up empty. DNA testing is still being conducted on the finger.

Steve4192
04-13-2005, 06:16 PM
Reminds me of the Ving Rhames character in 'Striptease' who was trying to put cockroaches in his yogurt so he could sue the manufacturer.

pedro
04-14-2005, 08:08 PM
wouldn't it be gross if wendy's chili was made of meat taken from medical waste?

New twist on finger found in chili


Officials doubt link between Wendy's discovery, leopard attack

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Authorities investigating the origin of a finger found in a California bowl of fast-food chili said Thursday they have uncovered no link to a Nevada leopard attack that cost a woman part of her index finger.

Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said the chance of any connection is "diminishing." San Jose, California, Police Sgt. Nick Nuyo said investigators there were also skeptical.

Sandy Allman, 59, lost a 3/4-inch fingertip February 23 in the attack by a spotted leopard being kept at her home in rural Pahrump, about 60 miles west of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas resident Anna Ayala claimed she found a 1 1/2-inch fingertip on March 22 while eating at a Wendy's in San Jose.

"Obviously, if we have more of a finger than she lost, you might look at that on face value and say it's probably not the same," Nuyo said Thursday.

A lawyer for Allman had said that she wanted to participate in any DNA testing of the found finger. She said she last saw her fingertip packed in ice in a Las Vegas emergency room. Doctors told her it could not be reattached, and she does not know what happened to it after that, lawyer Philip Sheldon said.

The hospital said it cannot account for the missing fingertip.

Ayala was visiting relatives in San Jose and could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Jeffrey Janoff, said Wednesday that she had decided not to pursue a lawsuit over the found finger because scrutiny by police and reporters had been "very difficult for her emotionally."

Court records show Ayala has previously made claims against corporations, including a former employer, General Motors and a fast-food restaurant.

Wendy's maintains the finger did not enter the food in its ingredients. It has offered a $50,000 reward in the case and was keeping open a hot line for tips, spokesman Denny Lynch said.

link (http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/04/14/wendys.finger.ap/index.html)

RedFanAlways1966
04-14-2005, 10:34 PM
Sandy Allman, 59, lost a 3/4-inch fingertip February 23 in the attack by a spotted leopard being kept at her home in rural Pahrump...

And the winner of the 2005 Seigfried & Roy Imagine-That Award is...

Steve4192
04-14-2005, 10:48 PM
And the winner of the 2005 Seigfried & Roy Imagine-That Award is...
I guess that beats winning a Darwin Award if the cat had finished the job.

RedFanAlways1966
04-22-2005, 08:35 AM
Guess who got arrested last night by Las Vegas police?!?!

Guess she won't be filing any lawsuits against Wendy's while she is behind bars. :laugh:

LAS VEGAS Apr 22, 2005 — The woman who claimed she found a finger in her bowl of Wendy's chili last month has been arrested, the latest twist in a bizarre case about how the 1 1/2-inch finger tip ended up in a bowl of fast food.

Anna Ayala was taken into custody late Thursday at her Las Vegas home, police said.

Authorities would not provide details until a news conference Friday in San Jose, Calif. the city where Ayala claimed she bit down on the finger in a mouthful of her steamy stew.

Ayala's 18-year-old son, Guadalupe Reyes, said he had gone to the store around 9 p.m. when he got a phone call from a friend who was back at the Las Vegas home.

"We rushed back and she was already gone," Reyes said.

Reyes said he had no other details and was waiting to hear from his mother.

Ohio-based Wendy's International Inc. did not immediately return a call Friday.

Ayala's claim that she found the finger tip, complete with a well-manicured nail, on March 22 initially drew sympathy. But when police and health officials failed to find any missing digits among the workers involved in the restaurant's supply chain, suspicion fell on Ayala, and her story has become a late-night punch line.

Ayala hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the Wendy's franchise owner, Fresno-based JEM Management. But after police searched her home in Las Vegas and continued to question her family, she dropped the lawsuit threat, saying the whole situation was just too stressful.

"Lies, lies, lies, that's all I am hearing," Ayala said after police started questioning her. "They should look at Wendy's. What are they hiding? Why are we being victimized again and again?"

As it turns out, Ayala has a litigious history. She has filed claims against several corporations, including a former employer and General Motors, though it is unclear from court records whether she received any money. She said she got $30,000 from El Pollo Loco after her 13-year-old daughter got sick at one of the chain's Las Vegas-area restaurants. El Pollo Loco officials say she did not get a dime.

Roy Tucker
04-22-2005, 02:17 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/22/business/22wendys.html?adxnnl=0&8hpib=&adxnnlx=1114189793-Js1mo8WhY9ft7p9lCpf/3g&pagewanted=all&position=

CSI: Wendy's Restaurants

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

By MATT RICHTEL and ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO

Published: April 22, 2005

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 20 - Denny Lynch sat at a booth at a Wendy's restaurant, finishing bites of a chicken sandwich between cellphone calls. Mr. Lynch, a Wendy's executive, was one of only a few lunchtime patrons at the normally buzzing restaurant, where lately business is off by half.

That's because, in the same booth where Mr. Lynch sat, a patron claimed on March 22 that she dipped into her cup of beef chili and found part of a human finger.

Since then, Mr. Lynch, Wendy's senior vice president for communications, and the rest of Wendy's executive team have been on a ceaseless treadmill trying to manage a public relations crisis that has consumed and frustrated the company.

Mr. Lynch still does not know whose finger it was or where it came from. But some of the many questions surrounding the incident may be resolved once the police receive the results of lab tests, possibly as early as Friday.

Unless investigators solve the mystery, the case threatens to put Wendy's in the same unenviable category as Tylenol and Jack in the Box, two other brand names that were tainted by gruesome discoveries that set off a national panic.

The troubles began for Mr. Lynch when the phone rang just after 11:30 p.m. on March 22. He had been sleeping at home in Dublin, Ohio, where Wendy's has its headquarters. The caller was Bob Bertini, the chain's media relations manager, explaining that Anna Ayala, a Las Vegas resident visiting family in San Jose, had bitten down on the finger in a spoonful of Wendy's chili.

For the 52-year-old Mr. Lynch, there was no time to prepare a sophisticated plan of action. The news media, he was informed, knew about the gruesome discovery, and wanted a statement. He did not wake John T. Schuessler, Wendy's chairman and chief executive, that night, but sent him e-mail messages explaining the news and the steps he had taken.

Over the next month, Mr. Lynch's job became part "CSI: Wendy's," part public relations nightmare.

A management team from Sacramento, Wendy's regional base, converted the office of the Wendy's franchisee, JEM Management, based in Fresno, into a makeshift crisis control room. The local police department was already involved; the coroner's office was brought in six days later.

Most of all, Mr. Lynch spent countless hours briefing the news media. "It went nonstop the next two or three days," Mr. Lynch said, "even through the weekend. Even when the pope passed away, it still got coverage."

He managed to squeeze in an early-April golf trip, but he said he spent most of it on the phone with the crisis team in San Jose.

So far, Wendy's restaurants in Northern California have lost 20 percent to 50 percent of their business. With every passing day that the mystery of the finger goes unsolved, Mr. Lynch and Wendy's executives face eroding confidence in their business. "We need closure," Mr. Lynch said. "Until then, there is lingering doubt."

Investigations so far have failed to turn up much about the finger. What is known is that the tissue is most of a fingertip and is now in two pieces. Put together, the total length is one and a half inches, and the finger is preserved enough to draw a sample of DNA and fingerprints. It is suspected to be from a woman because of its long, manicured nail.

But investigators still do not know whether the finger came from a dead or live person. They do not know if the finger's DNA has a match in any existing database. A search for the fingerprint in the F.B.I.'s database of about 50 million prints came up negative.More important for Wendy's, it is still not known whether the finger was cooked, and if so, for how long. A thoroughly cooked finger might indicate that it came through Wendy's food supply chain. If the tissue is uncooked, that might indicate that it was added to the chili after the fact.

Questions have also been raised about Ms. Ayala. The Associated Press has reported that Ms. Ayala has had a litigious history that included a settlement for medical expenses for her daughter, who claimed she became sick at an El Pollo Loco restaurant in Las Vegas.

The uncertainty has meant that the company, which has 6,600 locations in the United States, must cope with a damaged reputation worsened by the breadth and speed of media coverage around the world.

The fingertip has not just set off a scare, but has also become the butt of late-night television jokes. It is discussed in California with the familiarity and interest of the breakup of the actors Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt.

Wendy's has offered a $100,000 reward and has a team of private investigators running a tip line 10 hours a day. Still nothing.

The Wendy's story has included everything from a patron with a suspicious history of suing companies to an animal trainer who sought national attention to talk about the finger she partly lost training a leopard.

That has made the case seem more like a circus sideshow than the deadly food threats of the past, like the one in 1993 when four people died and hundreds of others became sick from eating Jack in the Box hamburgers tainted by E. coli bacteria. Nor is the case as threatening as the situation Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol brand faced in 1982 when seven people died in the Chicago area from cyanide-laced capsules.

Wendy's patrons are more repulsed than afraid of dying. "It's nasty," said Victoria Reyes, 17, a senior at a nearby high school who was walking near the Wendy's on Wednesday. She said she ate regularly at Wendy's, but had moved the chain off her diet plan.

This is not the first time Mr. Lynch has managed a crisis in his 25 years at Wendy's. He was on the front lines in May 2000 when robbers shot and killed five workers at a Wendy's in Queens.

That experience still did not prepare him for the uncertainty from the mystery finger. Aside from a decline in business, Wendy's has had to weather some 20 copycats around the country who claimed to have found everything from fingernails to a chicken bone in their Wendy's food.

To quell the problems and try to rebuild the company's reputation, Wendy's decided to offer free milkshakes this weekend in 48 Bay Area stores as a sign of customer appreciation. Mr. Lynch flew to San Jose on Tuesday to help coordinate the effort. The company has also decided to send coupons to residents in the area around the restaurant. Next month, Wendy's will introduce a new premium deli sandwich, also in the Bay Area.

"We need to get customers thinking about Wendy's again," Mr. Lynch said. "They've been taken out of that mind-set."


That could be difficult, considering the media saturation surrounding the finger mystery. That first night, when Mr. Lynch was awakened, local television stations were already running with the report.

The next day, as the finger became fodder for morning talk-radio shows, Wendy's started an investigation. Workers at the restaurant were interviewed and later passed lie detector tests. Wendy's began tracing back the ingredients from the chili to its suppliers. The ingredients all come from a central distribution center, Mr. Lynch said, that can trace the ingredients' suppliers by product code.

The company concluded it would have been highly unlikely for an employee to overlook a finger, given the way the chili is made. A worker chops ground beef into small chunks with a spatula - using the same two- and four-ounce patties used for hamburgers - adds kidney beans and small beans from cans, seasoning from a packet, and tomatoes. A 48-serving batch is mixed into a 22-quart pot and cooked for four to six hours, stirred every 15 minutes.

Mr. Lynch said the process required such close interaction with the food that it was unlikely that a foreign object, like a finger, would go unnoticed. "Can it happen? Yeah," he said. "But it's very unlikely."

Similarly, Mr. Lynch said it was highly unlikely that a finger part of more than one inch made its way through the mechanized process at meatpacking plants to turn raw meat into ground beef.

Around midmorning that first Wednesday, the Santa Clara County Department of Health inspected the Wendy's at Monterey Road, giving it a clean bill of health. Then in the afternoon, Wendy's got its first bad break. Santa Clara health officials said there was no public health risk. But they released a photo of the finger to the news media.

"It is a gruesome image," Mr. Lynch said. "And it spread across the country in no time."

That Thursday, March 24, Wendy's reported the findings of its internal inquiry. No restaurant employees had suffered a hand injury. Follow-up with suppliers of the chili ingredients revealed the same. Wendy's insisted it had found nothing to support allegations that it or its supply chain was the source of the finger.

Mr. Lynch then learned another heartening piece of news: the employee who prepared the chili is a 10-year veteran of the San Jose restaurant. "That helped a little," he said.

That night, however, the "Tonight" show host, Jay Leno, began the first of several nights of jokes about the incident. Among the most painful: a dig at the beloved Wendy's founder, Dave Thomas. "I didn't know Wendy's sold finger food," Mr. Leno quipped. "I guess we know what Wendy's did with their founder, Dave Thomas."

Three days later, on Sunday, Mr. Lynch returned a call from an ABC producer at 6 p.m., who told him that Ms. Ayala would appear on "Good Morning America" the next morning with a lawyer. "Does Wendy's want to say anything, or send someone to New York?" the producer asked.

"Can you wait 24 hours?" he replied. The producer said no. Mr. Lynch spent three hours preparing a statement, which was read almost in its entirety the next morning.

That Monday, Ms. Ayala appeared with her lawyer, who claimed that the chili incident was a clear case of product liability. Ms. Ayala, visibly emotional, told of her disgust at nearly swallowing the finger. "Suddenly I chew something that's kind of hard, crunchy," Ms. Ayala said on "Good Morning America." "I spit it out."

Now the story was everywhere.

Later that day, the Santa Clara County coroner's office began an investigation. The finger was shipped in a Wendy's container to a lab.

A week later, Wendy's posted a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the finger. A toll-free number was set up: (800) 821-3348. That day, police detectives searched the Las Vegas home of Ms. Ayala. They do not say what they found, if anything.

Then, on April 13, the San Jose police investigated the case of a woman who lost part of her finger in a leopard attack. The woman, who has several exotic animals, lives near Las Vegas. Later, after the woman appeared on "Good Morning America," police said they could not connect her to the Wendy's case because the fingerprints did not match. That same day, however, Ms. Ayala told reporters that she was no longer pursuing a lawsuit against Wendy's, and her lawyer confirmed that he was no longer representing her.

In an interview on Wednesday, Sgt. Nick Muyo of the San Jose police said that the police are calling Ms. Ayala a witness, not a suspect. "We've maintained all along she is not the focus of this case," he said. "It's possible we may not find out where the finger came from."

That possibility scares Wendy's more than anything. "We can't put this behind us until we get a third party to exonerate us, if that's possible," Mr. Lynch said. "And it may never be possible. That is the worst-case scenario. It is worse than if you made a mistake and own up to it."

Some outside crisis management consultants questioned whether Wendy's reacted with enough empathy toward Ms. Ayala in the first few days after the finger was reported found. "Wendy's has not been empathetic enough," said Mike Paul, president of MGP & Associates PR, a crisis management firm in New York.

Mr. Lynch said that Wendy's officials made attempts to contact Ms. Ayala, "but were unable to do so." And within days she had retained a lawyer, he said.

Last Friday, Wendy's doubled its reward to $100,000 and began running local ads announcing the reward. Thomas J. Mueller, Wendy's president, reiterated in a company statement that there is "no credible evidence that Wendy's is the source of the foreign object."

Matt Richtel reported from San Jose, Calif., for this article and Alexei Barrionuevo from New York.

Chip R
04-22-2005, 02:20 PM
I wonder who fingered her? ;)

RedsBaron
04-22-2005, 02:46 PM
You've really got to hand it to her.

savafan
04-22-2005, 08:53 PM
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&e=1&u=/ap/wendy_s_finger

By KIM CURTIS, Associated Press Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Police investigating how a human finger ended up in a woman's bowl of Wendy's chili declared the claim a hoax Friday and arrested her on charges of attempted grand larceny.


The arrest of Anna Ayala at her home outside Las Vegas was the latest twist in a case that has become a late-night punch line, taken a bite out of Wendy's sales and forced the fast-food chain to check its employees for missing fingers.


Ayala, 39, claimed she bit down on the well-manicured, 1 1/2-inch finger in a mouthful of her steamy chili on March 22 in San Jose. She had hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the Wendy's franchise owner, but dropped the lawsuit threat soon after suspicion fell on her.


When asked whether police considered Ayala's claim a hoax, David Keneller, captain of the San Jose police department's investigations bureau, said yes.


"What we have found is that thus far our evidence suggests the truest victims in this case are indeed the Wendy's owner, operators and employees here in San Jose," Police Chief Rob Davis said.


At a news conference, police refused to say where the finger originated and exactly how the hoax was carried out.


But according to a person knowledgeable about the case who spoke on condition of anonymity, the attempted larceny charge stemmed from San Jose police interviews with people who said Ayala described putting a finger in the chili. The source said the interviews were with at least two people who did not know each other and independently told similar stories.


The source added that investigators still did not know where the finger came from.


Ayala — who has a history of bringing claims against big corporations — has denied placing the finger in the chili.


"We're thrilled that an arrest has been made," Tom Mueller, president and chief operating officer of Wendy's North America, said in a statement.


During the investigation, police and health officials failed to find any missing fingers among the workers in the restaurant's supply chain. Wendy's hired private investigators, set up a hot line for tips and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the finger's original owner.


The furor caused sales at Wendy's to drop, forcing layoffs and reduced hours in Northern California. Joseph Desmond, owner of the local Wendy's franchise, called the ordeal a nightmare.


"It's been 31 days, and believe me it's been really tough," he said. "My thanks also go out to all the little people who were hurt in our stores. They lost a lot of wages because we had to cut back because our business has been down so badly."


Earlier Thursday, Ohio-based Wendy's announced it had ended its internal investigation, saying it could find no link between the finger and the restaurant chain.


Ayala has filed claims against several corporations, though it is unclear whether she received any money. She said she got $30,000 from a Mexican food chain after her 13-year-old daughter got sick at one of the restaurant, but the chain denied it paid her anything.


Ayala also was arrested on a warrant alleging grand larceny — a charge not related to the discovery of the fingertip. The police chief said the grand larceny allegation stemmed from a 2002 incident in which Ayala allegedly tried to sell a mobile home in San Jose that she did not own. The victim lost $11,000.


Ayala's son denied the grand larceny charge related to the mobile home sale.





"She didn't steal any money in connection with the trailer," Guadalupe Reyes Jr. said in brief comments to reporters while leaving the family's suburban Las Vegas house.

___

Associated Press writers Josh Dubow in San Francisco and Ken Ritter and Joe Cavaretta in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

KronoRed
04-22-2005, 08:55 PM
Where did she get the finger? :help:

RBA
04-23-2005, 10:12 PM
Wendy's Hopes Arrest Woos Back Customers
- By KIM CURTIS, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, April 23, 2005



(04-23) 09:49 PDT San Jose, Calif. (AP) --


Wendy's restaurants are hoping business will bounce back now that a woman who claimed she found a finger in her bowl of chili has been arrested and investigators say the whole case was likely a hoax.


Anna Ayala is accused of attempted grand larceny, a charge authorities said relates to the financial losses Wendy's has suffered since Ayala claimed she bit down a 1 1/2-inch finger tip in a mouthful of her chili on March 22.


The loss to Wendy's restaurants in the Bay area is $2.5 million, according to the felony complaint against her.


"Indeed, what we have found is that thus far our evidence suggests the truest victims in this case are indeed the Wendy's owner, operators and employees here in San Jose," San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis said Friday.


Sales dropped at Wendy's in Northern California because of the furor, forcing layoffs and reduced hours.


"It's been 31 days, and believe me it's been really tough," said Joseph Desmond, owner of the local Wendy's franchise. "My thanks also go out to all the little people who were hurt in our stores. They lost a lot of wages because we had to cut back because our business has been down so badly."


The company plans to launch a marketing campaign and decided to offer free Frosties this weekend at its Bay area restaurants, Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch said.


"If you look at the facts, the police have conducted an investigation and filed charges and made an arrest. We believe that is a clear sign we have been vindicated," he said.


Ayala's claim that she found the well-manicured finger during her meal at a San Jose Wendy's initially drew sympathy. She hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the franchise owner, but dropped the lawsuit threat soon after suspicion fell on her.


Ayala, who has a history of bringing claims against big corporations, was arrested at her suburban Las Vegas home Thursday. A court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday; in the meantime, she is being held without bail.


San Jose Police Capt. David Keneller said police consider Ayala's claim a hoax. Police refused to say where the finger originated and exactly how the hoax was carried out.


But according to a person knowledgeable about the case who spoke on condition of anonymity, the charge stemmed from San Jose police interviews with people who said Ayala described putting a finger in the chili.


Many loyal patrons continue to support the Wendy's where Ayala made her claim.


On Friday, Tom McCready headed into the franchise and ordered two bowls of chili to go plus a baked potato topped with chili.


"If they've got 10 fingers, it's OK with me," the San Jose retiree said about the Wendy's employees at the counter.


He said he and his wife have supported the restaurant since Ayala's claim, heading there more often and ordering the chili. His opinion of Ayala's claim: "It's a crock."


___


Associated Press writers Christina Almeida and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.


___


On the Net:


http://www.wendy's.com


URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/04/23/national/a063253D42.DTL

savafan
05-13-2005, 10:02 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050513/ap_on_re_us/wendy_s_finger_10



By GREG SANDOVAL, Associated Press Writer Fri May 13, 4:20 PM ET

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The mysterious finger that a woman claimed to have found in a bowl of Wendy's chili came from an associate of her husband who lost the finger in an industrial accident, police said Friday.

"The jig is up. The puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place, and the truth is being exposed," Police Chief Rob Davis said.

The discovery of the finger's owner marks a significant break in a case that has confounded authorities for nearly two months, ever since Anna Ayala claimed she bit down on the well-manicured, 1 1/2-inch finger in a mouthful of her steamy chili.

The case became the talk of the Internet and late-night talk shows and spawned numerous bizarre tips and theories about the source of the finger, including one about a woman whose fingertip was bitten off by a spotted leopard kept as a pet.

Authorities said last month that they believed the story was a hoax, and they arrested the 39-year-old Ayala at her home in Las Vegas and charged her with attempted grand larceny for allegedly trying to shake down Wendy's. But whose finger was in the chili remained a mystery.

The owner was traced through a tip made to a Wendy's hot line, Davis said. He said the man lost the finger in December, and authorities "positively confirmed that this subject was in fact the source of the fingertip." The nature of the industrial accident was not disclosed.

Davis said the Nevada man, whose name was not released, is cooperating. The police chief would not say if the man was in on the alleged hoax.

Police believe the man gave the finger fragment to Ayala's husband, Jaime Plascencia, who was arrested this month on identity-theft charges unrelated to the Wendy's case.

During the investigation, Wendy's said no employees at the San Jose store had missing fingers, and no suppliers of Wendy's ingredients had reported any finger injuries. Authorities reported that there was no evidence the finger had been cooked, and also said Ayala had a history of filing claims against businesses.

Sgt. Nick Muyo said someone other than the man who lost the finger called in the tip to the hot line.

Calls to an attorney for Ayala and Plascencia were not immediately returned. Wendy's did not immediately return a call to its Dublin, Ohio, headquarters.

Authorities are considering additional charges against Ayala and her husband, Davis said. "We are exploring all other options and avenues available to see that those involved in this charade will be investigated," the police chief said.

Wendy's has offered a $100,000 reward and has said it has lost millions in sales since Ayala made the claim while visiting her family in San Jose. Dozens of employees at the company's Northern California franchises also have been laid off.

RedsBaron
05-14-2005, 08:08 AM
I haven't eaten at a Wendy's since this story first broke. I know it is silly, especially since the story was false, but I think of the story everytime I consider ordering a bowl of Wendy's chili.

ws1990reds
05-14-2005, 09:01 AM
I haven't eaten at a Wendy's since this story first broke. I know it is silly, especially since the story was false, but I think of the story everytime I consider ordering a bowl of Wendy's chili.

So......are you going to eat at Wendy's? That's the dying question! :evil:

KronoRed
05-14-2005, 06:52 PM
I've gone to wendys a few times since..no chili though ;)

savafan
05-18-2005, 02:23 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/wendy_s_finger

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A man who lost part of his finger in a workplace accident was the source of the fingertip used in an alleged scam against Wendy's restaurants, and gave it away to settle a debt, his mother said.

"My son is the victim in this," Brenda Shouey said in an interview published in Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle. "I believe he got caught in something, and he didn't understand what was going on."

Anna Ayala, 39, was arrested April 21 at her Las Vegas home on suspicion of attempted grand theft for allegedly costing Wendy's millions of dollars in a plot to shake down the company by claiming she found the finger in a bowl of chili in a restaurant in San Jose.

Ayala was to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

Shouey, of Worthington, Pa., said her son, Brian Paul Rossiter, 36, of Las Vegas, lost part of his finger in December in an accident at a paving company where he worked with James Plascencia, Ayala's husband. His hand got caught in a mechanical truck lift, she said.

She said he gave it to Plascencia to settle a $50 debt.

San Jose police announced last week the finger was obtained from an associate of Plascencia, but they have refused to identify him because he is cooperating in the investigation. They did not immediately return a message Wednesday seeking comment on the newspaper's account.

Shouey said her son had showed the severed finger to co-workers in a macho display of humor and was desperate for cash when he gave it away "to this character, James."

"My son is a happy-go-lucky guy. He thought it was cute to show" the severed finger, Shouey said. "It's like a man thing."

Shouey declined to give details of how the finger was preserved or whether Rossiter knew why Plascencia allegedly wanted the finger. She said her son told her of his role only this week and is keeping a low profile after undergoing intense police questioning.

Plascencia was arrested earlier this month on unrelated charges of failing to pay child support in a previous relationship.

Jaycint
05-18-2005, 02:51 PM
I still get their chili everytime I stop in there, that stuff is good! I'll roll the dice on a finger being in there. :laugh:

registerthis
05-18-2005, 03:07 PM
I still get their chili everytime I stop in there, that stuff is good! I'll roll the dice on a finger being in there. :laugh:
I think it's the best thing on their menu. :beerme: