LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Papa John's International founder John Schnatter last week sold some of his company stock for the first time in two-and-a-half years, cashing in about $6 million and chipping away at his roughly 30 percent stake in the Louisville-based pizza chain, according to a securities document filed Tuesday.

The May 10 sale represents about 1.2 percent of Schnatter's stake. He and his wife, Annette, still own about $479 million in Papa John's stock based on Tuesday's trading price.

Schnatter said in a filing earlier this month that he was considering selling some or all of his slice of Papa John's after being ostracized from the company last year.

A spokesman for Schnatter declined to comment on Tuesday.

Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company's board last summer and, after filing two lawsuits against the other board members and company managers, agreed to give up his board seat as of the company's annual meeting on April 30.

He first drew controversy in November 2017 for blaming the company's lackluster sales growth on the NFL's poor response to player protests of the National Anthem; and then in July 2018, when Forbes reported his use of racial language during a private conference call.

Papa John's shares have been trading for a little more than $50 after rebounding from a low of about $38 in February.

The rally has been fueled mainly by a $250 million influx from hedge fund Starboard Value LP, whose chairman Jeff Smith now chairs the company's board.

Schnatter sold 114,061 shares last week. He sold a bigger portion -- 480,000 shares -- over a three-week period in October 2016.

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Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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Chris Otts reports for WDRB.com about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and cotts@wdrb.com.