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Son of Applebee’s franchise mogul charged with being a $758,350 deadbeat dad

Evan Musikantow, who's charged in federal court with being a deadbeat dad. | Scottsdale, Arizona, arrest photo

Evan Musikantow — whose father has been said to be one of the biggest owners of Applebee’s restaurant franchises in the country — owes $758,350 in child support to his two kids, records show.

Musikantow is listed on an Illinois website as one of the top deadbeat dads.

And now he faces federal felony charges of failing to pay child support.

Musikantow — free on bail after being indicted Tuesday — made his most recent support payment in 2016, according to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which collects the money.

“We’re assisting the state of Illinois in recovering past-due child-support payments beyond its border,” said Joseph Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

Musikantow couldn’t be reached. His attorney Joshua Kutnick wouldn’t comment.

John Hoffman, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, said he wasn’t allowed to provide details about Musikantow’s support case. But did say it originated in Cook County circuit court.

Musikantow, 52, faces sentencing next month in an unrelated criminal case in Arizona.

He lived in Chicago before moving to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he has developed commercial real estate, records show.

Musikantow is on a state list of 100 people — mostly men — who owe $5,000 or more in overdue child support in Illinois.

In 2001, Gov. George Ryan signed a law creating the “Deadbeats Most Wanted List.” Before posting a person’s name, the state must make contact and give parents a chance to pay the debt in full. The web site went live in 2003 and collections began the next year. To date, the state has collected more than $2 million from people listed as deadbeats.

Evan Musikantow’s photo in the Illinois “Deadbeats Most Wanted” list. | Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Evan Musikantow’s photo in the Illinois “Deadbeats Most Wanted” list. | Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services

Last year, parents owed almost $900 million in child support in Illinois, the 10th-biggest total in the country, according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Currently, the No. 1 “deadbeat” on Illinois’ list is Michael Staisil, 50, who state officials say owes $5.2 million in support to his one child. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

Staisil, who previously lived in Chicago, had been involved in the private-equity business in New York, according to court records that note he was an offensive lineman for the 1988 Rose Bowl champion Michigan State football team and has an M.B.A. degree from Harvard University. His last payment to his child was in 2011, according to the Illinois deadbeat web site.

Michael Staisil. | Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Michael Staisil. | Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services

Musikantow is No. 6 on the deadbeat list.

His father Allen Musikantow co-founded Apple American Group, which owned and operated about 480 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in 23 states, according to a lawsuit Evan Musikantow filed against his father in Cook County circuit court in 2015.

In the lawsuit, Evan Musikantow said his father owed him $20 million. The case was dismissed for lack of prosecution this year, court records show.

Evan Musikantow’s business partner in an upscale barbershop, bar and restaurant in Scottsdale successfully sued him in 2014 in a dispute over an investment in that business.

According to court records, Musikantow faces sentencing in September in Arizona after pleading guilty to a felony charge of “taking the identity of another.” The victim was his father, according to Amanda Steele, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County attorney’s office.

Musikantow was accused of visiting a Mercedes dealership and a Maserati dealership, both in Scottsdale, and trying to buy cars using his father’s identity. He also tried to rent a house and an apartment using his dad’s identification, according to police. His father reported the crime, according to police.

Musikantow’s sentence in that Arizona case could range from probation to a few months in jail, Steele said.