21 Aug 2014
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Papa Joe's Owner Says ComEd Made Him Pull Plug on New Lenox Restaurant

The electric company gave him a "bad deal" and "refused to work" with him on a payment plan, said the owner of the closed New Lenox restaurant.

Papa Joe's Owner Says ComEd Made Him Pull Plug on New Lenox Restaurant
A local restaurateur says he was forced out of business by a rigid electric company unwilling to let him catch up on his bills.

"They just refused to work with me," Joe Agate, the owner of the now closed Papa Joe's in New Lenox, said of utility titan ComEd.

"It was the big corporation pushing the little guy out," Agate said.

Agate admitted his electric bill got away from him. ComEd sued his company earlier this month, claiming the restaurant owed $19,020.40.

Before it got to that, Agate said he asked ComEd to put him on a payment plan.

"I fell behind on the electric bill," he said. "We begged and pleaded with Edison."

But the electric company wouldn't make a deal, said Agate. And after buying his electricity from ComEd for more than 30 years, starting with his first restaurant in Chicago, Agate admitted it "bothers" him that he wasn't afforded the opportunity to catch up on his debt.

Agate said ComEd gave him a "bad deal" and squeezed his New Lenox restaurant out of business. Papa Joe's first closed its dining room and only served carryouts, then shut down completely a "couple months ago," he said.

Agate said he still has a restaurant in Oak Lawn, but "New Lenox was a tough nut to crack."

"I'm sorry I'm not there," he said. "I wish we were."

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