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As Kickstarter Campaign Falters, Taco Punk is Sued on Claims of Failing to Pay Debt

Taco Punk is being sued by the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation for allegedly being overdue on the bulk of a loan in a lawsuit filed as the restaurant's Kickstarter campaign for an expansion project failed to meet its funding requirement.The lawsuit claims that Taco Punk owner Gabe Sowder has $33,089  due on a $40,000 loan made in August 2011. An interest rate of 5 percent per year will be added after March 1, the lawsuit said. As first reported in Eater Louisville, the lawsuit was filed on the same day that the Kickstarter campaign failed.We've left a phone message for Sowder at Taco Punk but were told he's out of town. We've also sent him an e-mail. When he responds, we'll post it here.In a January op-ed for WFPL, Sowder said he was encouraged to seek Kickstarter funding for the project."I knew that we had to change our business model or we were not going to be able to make it," Sowder wrote. "As I have a METCO loan, I contacted the Economic Development council for advice. After presenting my ideas I was urged to create a Kickstarter project to finance developing the side lot into an alfresco dining area and launch a catering program."Sowder was attempting to raise $20,000 for the project.The Feb. 22 deadline to raise those funds passedwith $9,856 pledged.City spokeswoman Rebecca Fleischaker said METCO has begun suggesting that businesses to explore crowdsourcing tools such as Kickstarter to raise funds for projects.The lawsuit asks for judgment against Sowder for the owed amount, plus interest and attorneys fees. In another court document, Sowder is told he has 30 days of receiving the complaint to dispute the validity of the claim—or he's liable for it.Sowder was to make payments of $921.17 for 48 months, states the loan, which was obtained through the courts.

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

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