Santander Bank Sues Chuck Peruto Over His Hilarious Anti-Santander Billboard
Rittenhouse Square attorney Chuck Peruto is best known for his exceptional tan, his relationships with beautiful young women and, oh yeah, for defending some of Philadelphia’s most notorious criminals, from reputed mobster Joey Merlino to bona fide madman Gary Heidnik. But now, Peruto finds himself in need of a good defense — albeit a civil defense — after Santander Bank sued him in federal court earlier this week.
You may have heard about Peruto’s beef with the bank before. The whole thing stems from a 10-year loan for $1.9 million that Peruto took from Santander in 2012.
Peruto is a big real estate investor, and he wanted to buy an apartment complex in Delaware County. He did so using the Santander money. Fast-forward to 2016, when Peruto decided to pay the loan back six years early, resulting in a charge of close to $270,000 for early repayment.
The nuts and bolts of the dispute and the loan agreement that Peruto signed with a bank are contained in a civil suit, but suffice to say, Peruto was pissed.
Back in October, Daily News scribe Stu Bykofsky spotted him picketing outside of Santander’s branch across from City Hall, with Peruto holding up a sign that read, “SANTANDER: Thieves of the first degree!”
Then last week, Peruto upped the ante in a big, big way by paying $25,000 for two anti-Santander billboards along I-95 in Fishtown. The billboards, which went up last Friday, read, “Santander: The Bank That Robs You” and even included Santander’s logo.
Well, it didn’t take long for Santander to retaliate.
The bank filed a federal trademark lawsuit against Peruto on Monday, accusing him of unlawfully using the company’s name and logo in what the bank characterizes as a “targeted attack” and “all-out war,” characterizations that Peruto doesn’t dispute.
The suit also accuses Peruto of defamation and other offenses and cites quotes he gave to Metro, including such ditties as, “They robbed me. They absolutely robbed me without a gun.”
A few days after Santander filed the suit, the billboards came down, but don’t count Peruto out yet.
“We’ve entered into settlement talks, and the judge suggested that I take the whole thing down as an act of good faith,” says Peruto, adding that he was originally going to remove just the Santander logo. “If the settlement talks are not fruitful, it goes back up, and I’ll change the logo to a devil with a pitchfork.”
We reached out to Santander for comment.
“Mr. Peruto was ordered to take down the anti-Santander billboard he purchased after recently losing a lawsuit against the bank,” a spokesperson told us. “We believe that Mr. Puerto’s case is completely without merit and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.”
This article was updated with comment from Santander Bank.
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