Poor Chipotle. What began as a brand built on lofty images of clean business and safe ingredients has been, over the years, picketed for underpaying farm workers, hard-pressed for "naturally raised" cows, and dogged by in-store outbreaks of E. Coli, Salmonella, and Norovirus. What happened, indeed?

Closing all of its locations for a company-wide health retraining may have helped with kitchen safety, but the burrito megachain's corporate allegedly needs a timeout as well. Shareholders are suing the company, alleging that executives, including ex-CEO and founder Steve Ellis, sold over $78 million in company shares "while the stock price was artificially inflated and before the fraud was exposed."

Colorado Public Radio reports
that the lawsuit accuses Chipotle higher-ups of acting on inside information that allowed them to sell off millions of dollars in shares just before news of the company's food safety woes became public.

Also included in the lawsuit are allegations that Chipotle execs knowingly kept shareholders in the dark about "subpar food safety standards adhered to at various Chipotle restaurants," making it impossible for them to buy and sell stock based on truthful information. A Chipotle rep could only tell CPR that "the Company intends to defend these cases vigorously."