Bassham Wholesale Egg Co. claims Snuffer's has outstanding bills dating to January 2009 for items including cheese, ham, bacon and burger beef. Pat Snuffer says the debts are related to the closing of Snuffer's McKinney location in December, and his restaurant has maintained a healthy business relationship with Bassham.
UPDATE: Read Bassham's take on the lawsuit after the jump.
"They still sell us most of our food," Snuffer says. "They delivered us food Monday, and they're going to deliver again Friday. I speak to Bassham's every day. We've been working together for many years."
Bassham's attorney Catherine Keith says her client tried to negotiate payment plans with Snuffer's, but "it didn't work out."
"We don't want to shut down Snuffer's," Keith clarifies. "We love Snuffer's just like everybody else. But it's a significant amount of money."
Snuffer's was sued last August by a ventilation hood cleaning service in an effort to collect unpaid bills. The restaurant was ordered to pay Blast Masters $25,000, plus court fees and interest. Snuffer says he's no longer working with Blast Masters.
The McKinney outlet was the first location the 33-year-old restaurant chain has been forced to close.
"Funny story, funny story," Snuffer says. "It was competition. It sunk us, that and the economy."
Snuffer says the remaining seven units are "in good shape."
"They're all doing great," he says.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Ronnie Bassham, who called me at Snuffer's request. "We do this with all our customers," Bassham says. "It's no big deal. We've been doing business with (Snuffer) for 35 years."
Bassham says he was reluctant to file the lawsuit, since he didn't want to make Snuffer's bankers aware of his financial difficulties, but wanted the protection of a court judgment.
"It's nothing bad, it's just to protect us," he says.
Bassham has had to bring an increasing number of lawsuits against clients since the start of the current recession.
"My comptroller was down at the courthouse today," he says. "All restaurants now are in pretty bad shape, but Snuffer's probably better than 80 percent of the others. People need to go out more."
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