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Published: Saturday, 6/2/2007

Jed s Barbecue facing more legal problems

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The Jed s still open is at Heatherdowns and Reynolds.
The Jed s still open is at Heatherdowns and Reynolds.
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Jed s Barbeque & Brew, one of Toledo s most popular hangouts for young adults, has hit a rough legal patch.

Two days after owner Kenneth Pompora pleaded not guilty to a theft charge involving Ohio taxes withheld from employee wages, the sports bar is the subject of eviction proceedings in South Toledo.

On Wednesday, Jed s was formally evicted from a former store in Toledo s North Towne area. A Bowling Green location is owned separately, and not involved in the troubles.

Mr. Pompora told The Blade yesterday that the closing of the North Towne location about two weeks ago was prompted by poor sales, not eviction proceedings begun by the landlord.

He said he hopes to reach a settlement with Reynolds Plaza Associates Ltd., landlord of his restaurant-bar on South Reynolds Road at Heatherdowns Boulevard.

William Lindsley, the owner s Toledo attorney, was out of the country and unavailable for comment, an assistant said.

A hearing is set for Thursday on the landlord s eviction complaint, according to the Toledo Municipal Court.

The building owner claims that Jed s hasn t paid rent since Dec. 1 and owes nearly $43,000.

He conceded that business isn t as strong as it once was in South Toledo. It is a big location with close to 10,000 square feet, Mr. Pompora said. It is a challenge to operate a store of that size.

But the store has loyal customers, he said. I have no plans to close... he added.

Mr. Pompora, 35, found success with a format that relies on spicy chicken bits known as fireballs and attractive waitresses to draw large weekend crowds.

It is a great concept, said Dan Ostas, spokesman for the firm s former landlord at North Towne. They had good food, good beer, but he [Mr. Pompora] let it go downhill.

Mr. Ostas said his family is owed about $100,000 in unpaid rent. Mr. Pompora disputes that.

Jed s has been the subject of numerous collection actions the past two years.

Mr. Pompora attracted attention in 2005 when he was arrested on a weapons charge after being stopped by police while driving his Hummer in Springfield Township. Police found a handgun stuffed in the waistband of his pants. He later told The Blade he was on the way to the bank to deposit restaurant receipts, but eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of mishandling a firearm.

Regarding his most recent arrest, he said: I don t file taxes. I m not an accountant. I m not going to comment on who I think is responsible.

An indictment by a Lucas County grand jury alleges that he failed to forward about $300,000 in taxes withheld from employee checks between January and April, 2006.

Contact Gary Pakulski at: gpakulski@theblade.com or 419-724-6082.



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