Creditor lets Abbey reopen — for now

2014-05-10T00:00:00Z 2014-08-20T10:40:11Z Creditor lets Abbey reopen — for nowBy Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Abbey in the Foothills reopened Friday afternoon, a day after a creditor seized the restaurant and locked out the operators after they fell three months behind in paying off a delinquent debt.

At an emergency hearing Friday morning before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Brenda Moody Whinery, Ventura-Pacific Development agreed to allow Abbygrace LLC to enter the restaurant at 6960 E. Sunrise Drive and resume operations, said the company’s attorney Mark Heckele. In court documents, Abbygrace LLC, owned by Brian and Sandy Metzger, argued that Ventura-Pacific did not follow the terms of a promissory note signed June 14, 2013, that required Abbygrace be given “written notice of an event of default” and 10 days to respond before Ventura-Pacific could seize the property.

Heckele said the restaurant is three months behind in its payments to satisfy a $30,000 debt from renovation work Ventura-Pacific did nearly three years ago. Part of that agreement called for Ventura-Pacific to take possession of the lease, the restaurant and its contents should Abbygrace not pay the note.

Metzger on Thursday blamed an accounting error for the missed payments. Late Thursday afternoon, he filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, listing on court documents assets and liabilities of $100,000 to $500,000. Ventura-Pacific on Friday petitioned the court to dismiss the bankruptcy if Metzger does not file a list of Abbygrace LLC creditors by next Thursday and a detailed schedule of the restaurant’s assets and liabilities by May 22 as  prescribed in federal bankruptcy laws, court records show.

Brian Metzger would not comment on Friday’s court proceedings except to say that he was “so excited I can’t tell you” that the restaurant reopened in time for dinner service. His attorney Scott D. Gibson did not return a phone call seeking comment.

In a written statement, Metzger said The Abbey will be open for Mother’s Day Sunday and was still accepting reservations for brunch and dinner.

Heckele said the parties return to court Wednesday.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.

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