Relatives of an owner of a well-known pizzeria who now faces drug charges say they are distancing themselves from the situation as they continue to operate restaurants in Apex and Holly Springs.
Michael John Ferstler, 35, was arrested Tuesday night at Michelangelo’s Pizza at 941 N. Harrison Ave. He was charged with keeping marijuana, LSD and oxycodone drugs at the pizzeria, selling oxycodone to a police informant and having an illegal sawed-off shotgun.
Ferstler’s relatives say they are suffering from guilt by association.
Michael Ferstler’s aunt, Lisa Ferstler, said several members of the family have worked at the Cary shop over the years, learning the family business. They eventuallyset up Michelangelo’s locations in Apex and Holly Springs.
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“It rocked the whole family”when her nephew was arrested, Lisa Ferstler said. “We had no idea that was going on. He’s just not part of our lives.”
Cousin David Ferstler said Michael Ferstler has been estranged from the family “in the past few years due to his personal legal troubles,” and there are no strong ties between the Cary eatery and the Holly Springs and Apex locations.
“Michelangelo’s Pizza is a family owned business, yes, however each location is solely owned and operated by different individuals in the family,” David Ferstler wrote in an email. “The location Michael operates is owned only by him and does not have any direct connection other than family ties to any other Michelangelo’s Pizza.”
State prison records show that Michael Ferstler was convicted in 2011 of a misdemeanor forgery charge and was put on probation. He was convicted of driving while impaired in 2006.
The Cary location of Michelangelo’s is owned by a corporation named Ryme Agan, Inc. Michael Ferstler is listed as company president, according to records on file with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Lisa Ferstler said the Cary shop has remained closed since Michael Ferstler’s arrest.
He is being held at the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.
“I speak on behalf of the family that we are deeply upset over the turn of events that has transpired,” David Ferstler wrote in an email. “Other members of my family feel as though this event has sullied the good name that we have tried to build with Michelangelo’s over the past 25 years, and I am inclined to agree with them.”