FirstBank sues Pizza City owners to collect $1.9M in unpaid loan, foreclose
FirstBank Puerto Rico recently filed a lawsuit seeking to collect $1.9 million from the owners of Pizza City, a long-standing, popular eatery with tourists on the Isla Verde strip in Carolina, claiming non-payment of an existing loan.
It is also pursuing foreclosure and the sale of the iconic restaurant through public auction.
In the lawsuit filed at the Carolina Superior Court, the bank states that Inversiones Frajisa Corp. — which runs Pizza City — signed an agreement for a loan in February 2009 for which it signed a mortgage promissory note and its mortgage deed as collateral.
The lawsuit filed by Rickenbach Ojeda Attorneys & Counselors at law PSC in San Juan also names as co-defendants Pizza City Inc., North Side II Inc., and Francisco A. Jiménez-Salazar.
On March 19, 2021, FirstBank declared the loan “expired, settled, and enforceable due to non-payment by Inversiones Frajisa Corp.,” according to the lawsuit. As of Aug. 11, 2021, the business owned FirstBank $1.6 million in principal, a little more than $77,000 in interest, another $7,300 in escrow, $192,000 in attorney fees, about $28,000 in late fees, and $20 in “other charges.”
The bank’s representatives asked the court to order immediate payment of the accrued amounts. It also notified the defendants that FirstBank will move ahead on asking the Puerto Rico Property Registry to take notice of the lawsuit.
“The sums of money that FirstBank gains through the foreclosure and judicial sale of the property described above will be used to satisfy, to the extent possible, the amounts owed and claimed in this cause of action,” the bank stated in its legal claim.
The sale of the long-standing hangout in Isla Verde — which is open 24/7 and specializes in pizza, burgers and local dishes — would fall in the hands of a court-appointed officer.
FirstBank asked that “the property is sold at public auction to proceed to put the winning bidder in possession of it by evicting the occupants.”
Earlier this year, Pizza City was one of several establishments in Carolina that local and central government authorities raided for alleged health violations, as reported. However, the restaurant’s owner defended his operation by saying that photos published prior to the interventions were not of Pizza City’s kitchen.
Pizza City is listed in Discover Puerto Rico’s directory of local restaurants.