Draper International Inc. and its principal owners have sued Eldorado Bank in Tustin, claiming that the bank reneged on promises and forced the snack-food maker to close its doors 16 months ago.
The company, which was based in Irvine, made plain and cinnamon-flavored tortilla chips under the name California Crisp.
Draper and its owners are seeking $3 million in general damages and $15 million in punitive damages for what they claim was Eldorado's withdrawal of verbal commitments to renegotiate a $100,000 interim financing loan. Loss of the new loan caused Draper to go out of business, the suit alleges.
Eldorado President J. B. Crowell could not be reached for comment.
The bank's refusal to renegotiate the loan broke up plans for the sale of the company, according to Gary Draper, president and chief stockholder, with about 25% of the shares.
"The bank knew we had a real buyer and yet it stood in the way of the sale," he said Wednesday.