Raid spotlights Subway pitchman's ties to ex-foundation head
ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A raid at the home of an iconic restaurant spokesman is casting a glaring spotlight on his relationship with the former head of a foundation he set up to combat childhood obesity.
Federal and state authorities raided the home of Subway pitchman Jared Fogle on Tuesday, just two months after the then-executive director of Fogle's foundation was arrested on child pornography charges.
Authorities wouldn't describe the nature of the investigation or what they hoped to find on electronics removed from Fogle's house. Fogle's attorney said his client, known by millions as "The Subway Guy," was cooperating with investigators.
Subway said in a statement that it believed the raid was "related to a prior investigation" of a former employee of the Jared Foundation, an organization founded by Fogle to raise awareness about childhood obesity. The company didn't say whether that employee was former foundation executive director Russell Taylor.
Federal prosecutors in May filed a criminal complaint charging Taylor, 43, with seven counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Investigators said they discovered a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor allegedly produced by secretly filming minor children at his home.
Fogle issued a statement after the charges were filed saying he was shocked by the allegations and was severing all ties with Taylor.
Fogle declined to comment as he left his home Tuesday, the hood of a blue rain jacket pulled over his head.
Attorney Ron Elberger said in a statement that his client had not been arrested or charged.
"Jared has been cooperating, and continues to cooperate, with law enforcement in their investigation of unspecified charges, and looks forward to its conclusion," Elberger said.
Subway removed references to Fogle from its website and issued another statement, saying the two had "mutually agreed to suspend their relationship due to the current investigation."
"Jared continues to cooperate with authorities and he expects no actions to be forthcoming," the company said. "Both Jared and Subway agree that this was the appropriate step to take."
Fogle, 37, became the restaurant chain's pitchman after shedding 245 pounds more than 15 years ago, in part by regularly eating Subway sandwiches. Subway began featuring Fogle in commercials soon after, and his story was instrumental in giving the sandwich chain an image as a healthy place to eat.
Neighbors said Fogle and his wife entertained frequently and would say hello but that they didn't see the couple outside a lot.
Jacob Schrader, 19, who lives across from Fogle's house, said the pitchman seems "like a pretty private guy" and that he'd only seen him about a dozen times in the last five or six years.
"He's like an endangered species or something like that," Schrader said.
Subway, which is based in Milford, Connecticut, and is privately held, has struggled in recent years. Last year, industry tracker Technomic said average sales for Subway stores in the U.S. declined 3 percent from the previous year. The company has about 44,000 locations around the world.
Callahan reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press Food Industry writer Candice Choi in New York contributed to this story.