Las Vegas ‘chili finger’ woman has history of lawsuits

Story sources
  • Barbara Grady, Reuters. “Wendy’s Offer Reward Over Chilli Finger” — xtra msn, April 11, 2005
  • Dave Murphy and Ryan Kim. “Loyalists still visit the Wendy’s, Some even get the chili, although business is down” — San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 2005
  • Dan Reed, Crystal Carreon. “Scrutiny intensifies for woman who found finger in chili” — AJC, April 10, 2005
  • Ken Ritter, AP. “Wendy’s finger finder has litigious history” — Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 9, 2005
  • Brandon Bailey and Rodney Foo. “Finger-finder involved in other claims” — San Jose Mercury News, April 9, 2005
  • Rachel Konrad, AP. “Woman who claimed to find finger at Wendy’s has litigious history” — San Jose Mercury News, April 8, 2005
  • Brian Haynes. “Chili investigation comes to Las Vegas” — Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 8, 2005

Monday, April 11, 2005

Anna Ayala, the Las Vegas woman who claims to have found the notorious “chili finger” at a Wendy’s outlet in San Jose, California, has filed lawsuits against other businesses, according to researchers at the Associated Press. Her previous court battles included the national El Pollo Loco chicken-chain, a previous employer, and even General Motors.

Ayala successfully won her suit for medical expenses against El Pollo Loco, after her daughter Genesis contracted salmonella poisoning from eating at the restaurant. However, Ayala lost another suit in 2000 claiming that a wheel fell off her car.

Ayala’s original account of the incident spoke “emotionally and with disgust” to the San Jose Mercury News when she described it to the paper.

“Lies, lies, lies, that’s all I am hearing. They should look at Wendy’s. What are they hiding? Why are we being victimized again and again?” Ayala recently told The Associated Press. Ayala is now in her Las Vegas home, avoiding reporters.

“It doesn’t prove anything,” family spokesman Ken Bono told the San Francisco Chronicle. “My mom has 10 lawsuits. A lot of people have lawsuits. Why would she sue for money? She has plenty of money,” he said.

Nick Muyo, a spokesman for the San Jose Police department, said not to expect new information in the case for at least a week.

“We just want to step back and take a deep breath,” Muyo told Knight Ridder Newspapers. “From a law enforcement point of view, once you establish it is a human finger, you have to wonder is this a case of industrial accident or is this a case of unreported homicide,” he said.

Las Vegas police searched Anna Ayala’s home on Wednesday, retrieving a cooler and other effects from her home, such as a makeup case.

Despite the incident, which has dramatically reduced sales at Northern California Wendy’s outlets, die-hard Wendy’s fans are still turning up for lunch, even at the outlet where the finger was found, at 1405 Monterey Highway, just south of downtown San Jose.

“We’ve eaten here for years,” a police officer told the San Francisco Chronicle under the condition that he remain anonymous. “They’re very nice people. When we work Spartan Stadium, we always eat here,” he said.

San Jose City Council candidate Andrew Diaz still eats the chili. And he witnessed the finger discovery.

“I walked away real slow,” Diaz told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I didn’t want any commotion,” he said.

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