PLAINFIELD – Investors in a downtown Plainfield restaurant are suing the owners over what they argue are misuses of funds.
The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 15, alleges that the plaintiffs Margaret Burke of Darien, Travis Bonifas of Aurora and Mike Bakos of Aurora invested at least $225,000 solely to be used to start Sovereign Tap as well as remodeling and inventory costs.
They accuse Dale Lewis of Yorkville, and Rafael Gomez and Jessica Watson Gomez of Plainfield of improperly using that money to establish three other businesses.
The businesses named in the suit were Crusade Burger Bar and 1836 Drink & Provisions, both located in Yorkville, and The Sanctuary in Plainfield.
The two sides entered into an agreement to open Sovereign around January 2015, according to the suit. The lawsuit also contends that in August 2016, the investors learned that Gomez used $10,000 from Sovereign for research and development to start Crusade Burger Bar without authorization.
But John Argoudelis, an attorney who represents the owners of Sovereign Tap, said because his clients own four-fifths of the business, they have the right to grant loans and that his clients have paid their investors over $100,000 in dividends.
Argoudelis said that the investors wanted access to Sovereign’s financial records for an audit and that his clients agreed, but they couldn’t agree on the terms of the audit. So now Argoudelis said the plaintiffs want a receiver hired to overlook the finances of Sovereign, but that would just cost the business more money.
“We’re perplexed,” Argoudelis said. “We’re just not sure what they’re looking for.”
The parties had a hearing Wednesday about the possibility of paying for a receiver, so the judge in the case will be making a ruling on the matter.
The lawsuit also stated opening other restaurants, especially The Sanctuary which will be on the same street as Sovereign in Plainfield, would be opening direct competition. Argoudelis said there is no way to know that since 1836 Drink Lab & Provisions and The Sanctuary have not yet opened.
Argoudelis also said that 1836 Drink Lab & Provisions and The Sanctuary are separate entities that were not included in the loan and, therefore, the owners could pursue those businesses. He said the investors now are only pursuing funds loaned to Crusade Burger Bar.
“There are no outstanding bills unpaid,” Argoudelis said. “We’re just not sure what they’re looking for.”