VINELAND — Police are trying to determine who turned the power back on at a prominent downtown restaurant that was allegedly more than $18,000 behind in its utility payments.
Police said they went to Mori’s Restaurant at Landis and East avenues and found the electricity was restored after someone cut the padlock that secured the eatery’s main service panel.
Power to the restaurant was turned off Friday after city Municipal Utilities Director Joseph Isabella said Mori’s management failed to meet the requirements of a payment agreement, police said. Isabella said the restaurant owed the Vineland Municipal Electric Utility, which is the city-owned electric company, more than $18,000, police said.
The restaurant used about 8 kilowatt hours of power since the electric had been turned back on, police said. Isabella said the cost of that power would be calculated at a later date.
Power to the restaurant was again turned off and the main service panel, which is outside the building, was again padlocked.
Police said they had not yet spoken to Mori’s management, which could not be reached for comment.
The restaurant is connected to the Landis Theater Performing Arts Center. Both were part of the so-called Four Corners project that was expected to turn the intersection of Landis and East avenues into an economic gateway to the downtown business district.
The restaurant and theater were the only parts of the estimated $40 million project built. Landis Theater is in danger of closing after its management firm, Appel Farm Arts & Music Center, opted not renew its contract, which expires Sept. 30, with the facility. Appel Farm said it became too financially difficult to continue managing the theater.
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