Restaurant owner pays debt

Published 10:25 pm Thursday, April 16, 2015

The owner of a local restaurant franchise has paid his tax debt to the city, and criminal charges against him have been dismissed.

John King, who owns Firehouse Subs locations on North Main Street and in Harbour View, had a debt of about $104,000 last July when the legal proceedings began. By October, the debt had grown to about $142,000.

But King worked out an agreement with the city to start paying current taxes on time and to pay off the remainder by this month. General District Judge Alfred W. Bates III dismissed the charges during a court appearance Thursday.

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Suffolk restaurateurs are required to charge a 6.5-percent tax on food and drinks served in their establishments. They hold that tax until the 20th of every month, when they are required to pay the amount due from the prior month. But, City Treasurer Ron Williams has said, restaurant owners sometimes fall into the habit of using the money to operate the store and get behind on paying the city.

The taxes had started accruing arrears in May 2013 for both of Suffolk’s Firehouse Subs locations.

When the charges were first filed, John King’s wife Pam King, a co-owner of the franchises, said 2013 was a tough year for the business, and they had to close their Chesapeake location. She said the business prioritized its employees throughout its difficulties and had to choose which bills were going to be paid.