Tommy Nevin's in bar fight with B of A
The owners of Tommy Nevin's Pub are scrambling to settle a $5.5 million foreclosure lawsuit against its first bar in Evanston and another in the western suburbs.
A venture led by the owners of the Irish pub has missed several monthly mortgage payments due on two loans secured by the original location, 1450 Sherman Ave. in the northern suburb, and another in Naperville, according to a complaint Bank of America filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
A member of the ownership group denies the loans are in default, calling the case "soft."
"We are still making monthly payments . . . and they are still cashing our checks," Steve Cin said. “Both (locations) are healthy and doing well as far as sales.”
State Bank of Countryside, based in the western suburb, has expressed interest in refinancing the loans, Mr. Cin said.
"We want the same thing they (B of A) want," he said. "We want to pay off and they won't even provide us with a payoff letter."
A spokeswoman for Charlotte, N.C.-based B of A said negotiations to settle the case are ongoing but declined further comment.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 5, court records show.
BADLY NEEDED IN EVANSTON
Tommy Nevin's opened in 1990 in Evanston, providing a badly needed nightspot to a downtown area that mostly went quiet after 5 p.m.
After the 1995 death of its founder, restaurateur Steven Prescott, Nevin's was taken over in 2003 by a group that includes Mr. Cin, Rohit Sahajpal and Tripat Sahajpal.
Tripat Sahajpal is a pediatrician in south suburban Oak Lawn. Her son, Rohit, manages several of the group's restaurants, including the Pete Miller Seafood & Prime Steak in Evanston.
The group now also operates a Nevin's in southwest suburban Frankfort, Nevin's Brewing Co. in southwest suburban Plainfield and Kerry Piper restaurant in west suburban Willowbrook. Only the Naperville and Evanston locations are part of the foreclosure suit.
In addition to the missed payments, the Nevins venture also violated some loan conditions, including not providing financial reports, according to B of A's complaint, filed in March. The Nevins venture also has let the ratio of debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest and other charges) rise above a specified level, the complaint says. The debt ratio is a commonly used measure of a borrower's ability to repay a loan.
Mr. Cin declined to discuss the debt ratio but said the restaurant group stopped filing the necessary financial reports in late 2011 because the bank continually changed its format for the statements, which proved burdensome for the small company.
The 7,800-square-foot Evanston property and the roughly 8,000-square-foot building at 3032 English Rows Ave. in Naperville are both in desirable locations and would likely attract many prospective buyers if they go up for sale, said Jim Martin, a senior adviser specializing in restaurants with Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial.
"We have seen an increase in requests for (restaurant) showings in Evanston amongst our clientele," he said.
This story has been updated to correct the name of the restaurant founder.
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