Liquor store owner claims he's due proceeds from sale of business

Kelly Holleran Oct. 16, 2009, 8:51am

A former owner of a liquor store has filed suit against his co-owners, alleging he is owed more than $200,000 after the store was sold, but was only paid $88,000.

Dhanvadan Khatiwala filed a lawsuit Oct. 9 in Madison County Circuit Court against Vince and Daxa Patel.

Khatiwala claims he had ambitions of opening a liquor store in 2006 and approached the Patels with the idea to see if they would be willing to enter into a partnership with him.

Agreeing to the arrangement, the Patels set up a limited liability company with Khatiwala named DVDK. Under the agreement to form DVDK, the Patels and Khatiwala arranged that the Patels would receive a 60 percent share in the business while Khatiwala would receive a 40 percent share of profits, according to the complaint.

Moving forward with their plans, the Patels and Khatiwala purchased property at 105 S. Belt East in Belleville for $375,000 and began operating a liquor store known as Arena Liquor. To make the $375,000 payment, Khatiwala and the Patels borrowed the money from Citizen's Bank, the suit states.

Arena Liquor opened on Nov. 25, 2006, and closed on July 4, 2007, the complaint says.

Throughout the store's operation, Khatiwala claims he spent $88,000 for business expenses and inventory.

While it was open, the store made a profit of $57,696, which remained in the Patels' possession, according to the complaint.

After it closed, Arena Liquor was sold to Vaishali Patel, who purchased it for $650,000 and paid an additional $110,000 for the store's inventory, the suit states.

The Patels used a portion of the money -- $325,000 – to pay off the Citizen's Bank loan and dedicated another portion -- $111,289 – to pay off outstanding bills, the complaint says. They also paid Khatiwala $88,000.

However, Khatiwala claims he should be paid an additional $23,078.40, which is 40 percent of the profits the store made while it was open, and an extra $94,284.40, which is equal to 40 percent of the balance available after the sale of the store.

In the two-count suit, Khatiwala is seeking the money he says he is owed.

He will be represented by G. Edward Moorman of Alton.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1078.

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