Photo by Karl Baron via Flickr Creative Commons
The Huffington Post reports that a lawsuit filed this week by federal prison inmate Gary Cole alleges that the story behind the "Doritos Locos Tacos" — namely, that popular food item was the brainchild of Frito-Lay product developers at the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California — is not true.
Cole says it's his idea, and that Frito-Lay stole it through the mail.
The Dallas Observer reports that Cole, who will represent himself in the case, is currently residing at a federal prison in Colorado that has housed "convicted terrorists, including Zacarias Moussaoui, shoe bomber Richard Reid and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski."
He is serving 25-years for "delaying interstate commerce, conspiring to do so, and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence."
As for the taco shells, Cole offers a document in his favor that he mailed to his lawyer in 2006 which includes a list of nine product ideas under a wouldbe brand he refers to as, "Divas and Ballers." Item number two on the list:
"Tacos Shells of All Flavors (Made of Doritos)"
After reading about Doritos Locos launch, Cole concluded that his idea had been stolen years ago through the mail.
So he wrote to the FBI, and asked for an investigation.
Then he wrote to the IRS, and asked for the name, address, check amount, and what taxes were paid by the mystery person he believes cashed in on his idea.
Also he sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Taco Bell and asked them to release all documents relating to the creation of the Doritos Locos Tacos.
Finally, he filed a 35-page handwritten complaint on May 15, 2013.
Court documents indicate he contacted a Denver law firm about the case, reports the Dallas Observer, adding, "He doesn't include the letter he sent them, which is a shame, because their response suggests it was incredible:"
Thanks for your April 25th letter, which we received on May 3. By now you should have received the taco documents. Hopefully, the stress they caused will be relieved.
Do not "put a knife" to the staff. That won't do you, or us, any good. I understand your frustration, but we're working on the retaliation issue and would ask that you leave it in our hands.
Taco Bell responded the The Huffington Post's questions regarding the complaint, saying in an email:
"We have not been served with the lawsuit, but the claims we’ve read in online news sources are completely false and without merit."