A food services company says a steakhouse owes it more than $40,000 for food.

Arvon Funding, as assignee of Gordon Food Service Company, filed a lawsuit Aug. 20 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against ABI Enterprises, doing business as Ponderosa Steakhouse, Robert Singer and Bill Cockrum, doing business as BCL Auction.

Arvon is a debt collector, and brought the lawsuit to court after Gordon Food says Ponderosa has failed to pay it $46,261.43, plus a returned bad check fee of $75, for food it delivered to the restaurant. In addition, as of May 31, interest of $91.34 had accrued on the account.

For the food, Robert Singer signed a personal guaranty, but has refused to reimburse Gordon Food for the money Ponderosa owes it, the suit states.

Singer also owes Gordon Food for three bad electronic fund transfers of $6,028.62, of $4,351.25 and of $6,128.53, the complaint says.

"Plaintiff has demanded payment of said sum and Defendant has refused to make the bad EFT good," the suit states.

In addition, Arvon says it had the rights to property used as collateral in the Gordon Food contract with Ponderosa and demanded the property from BCL Auction on May 19. However, Bill Cockrum sold the property at an auction on May 20, according to the complaint.

Although Arvon has demanded payment from Cockrum, he has refused to pay the full balance the debt collector says is due.

In the six-count lawsuit, Arvon is seeking the money it says Gordon Food is owed, plus additional interest at 18 percent per annum, attorney's fees of $2,500 and court costs. In addition, it is seeking punitive damages of $138,784.29 from Cockrum and treble damages of $4,500 from Singer, plus interest at 5 percent for the bad EFTs, service fees of $75 and certified mail fees.

Elaine or Kara LeChien of the Law Offices of LeChien and LeChien in Belleville will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-440.

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