Lack of insurance money may force closure of Union Beach restaurant
Right on the shoreline in Union Beach is an empty space with a sign that reads, “Jakeabob’s Bay insured by Lloyds of London for $1.2 million. Offered $9,657.14, Deductible $10,000.00. Thanks for nothing!”
What used to be Angelita Liaguno-Dorr’s restaurant, Jakeabob’s Bay, has been nothing but an empty lot for a year.
Liaguno-Dorr, who everyone calls “Gigi,” opened a temporary location a few streets near her old site. She said the restaurant is named after her two sons, Jake and Bobby.
“I’ve been in business in town since 1989,” she said. “I’ve had that location for 14 years so it’s the spot that I chose because I love the area and I love the views.”
After Hurricane Sandy hit, Liaguno-Dorr said the borough looked like a warzone.
“Three quarters of the building was gone,” she said. “When we were driving into town we were driving over hot water heaters, doors, and trees. Everything just blew up. I’ve never been to war, but if I had I’d have to say that, that was war.”
Liaguno-Dorr is currently in litigation against her insurance company, Lloyds of London, whose policy value with her was $1.2 million, but only offered her $9,657.14.
“I can’t rebuild,” she said. “I can’t rebuild with that, so I had to hire a lawyer, so now it’s longer, more litigation it’s more money. Last year, for my insurances, I paid in the neighborhood of $44,000 to have coverage in the event that something happens and this is the event they don’t pay.”
She said the insurance companies are not being held accountable and she plans on taking the issue to the president.
“The local government can only do so much and then the state level can only do so much but the one who can really push it is the president I think,” Liaguno-Dorr said. “I don’t know why this country is run the way that it is.”
When she got her mortgage on the restaurant, she said she was told that she had to have insurance.
“So we have to pay our premiums, and I don’t understand why the insurance companies [don’t] do what they’re supposed to do,” she said.
The lease on her temporary location ends in March and she is unsure if she will renew it for the next year.
“I just want my business back,” she said. “I just want my spot back. I’m still paying for all these things on a property that doesn’t even exist, there’s no business.“
She said business in her current location could not even be compared to what she had by the bay.
“We had entertainment seven days a week, we were busy up there,” she said. So many people walked away from their homes. … To be honest they want to sit on the water, they want that location.”