Failed downtown Joliet restaurant The Department and its owner owe $563,374 plus interest to a Plainfield lender, according to a lawsuit filed in Will County court.
Matthew J. Kruger named The Department Restauarant & Liquor Lounge and founding owner Derek Brenczewski as defendants in his lawsuit.
The Department closed in March. Prior to the restaurant going out of business, an employee identifying himself as a manager said the building owner had opted to lease the site to a new tenant.
"We couldn't compete with the offer," the employee said.
Brenczewski, who previously ran Joliet's Tuckaway Tavern, which closed in 2002, and was part owner of McBrody's until 2007, apparently headed down to the West Indies last year. He and his wife, Hallie, reportedly left Joliet to take over the Majestic Isle Casino on Antigua, according to a story in the Antigua Observer.
Kruger's lawsuit contends Brenczewski's back in town. The suit said he lives on Westridge Road in Joliet.
The suit also said Brenczewski borrowed $563,374 and agreed to pay it back in monthly installments of $3,718.02 each "including interest at the rate of" 5 percent per year. The payments were supposed to start Oct. 1, 2011, the lawsuit said.
"Despite repeated requests," Brenczewski failed to pay back Kruger's loan, the lawsuit said.
Kruger wants a judge to award him the full $563,374 along with another 9 percent interest, according to the lawsuit.