Restaurant behind on meals tax

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The owner of a Suffolk restaurant is charged with failure to pay meals taxes.

Danika Leigh Compton, who owns the Bennett’s Creek Restaurant, is behind more than $37,000, said C. Keith Ainsley, a deputy treasurer in the city treasurer’s office.

The restaurant has struggled with several hurricanes in recent years that flooded the business, Ainsley noted.

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“They’ve had acts of nature hit them and got them behind, and we had to work with them to get them current.”

Ainsley said his office has tried bank drafts and other methods of recovering the city’s money.

“However, the reason that the criminal complaints went out is they’re putting the business up for sale,” Ainsley said. “When you have a business that’s indicating that you’re selling, it sort of makes it prudent to go ahead and move up some actions to make sure the city is being protected with its interests.

“We want to make sure this is before the court and that the city’s interests are protected,” he added. “We have to make sure we’re not left holding the bag for the citizens.”

Suffolk restaurateurs are required to charge their customers a 6.5-percent city tax on food and drinks served in their establishments. They hold that tax until the 20th of every month, when they are required to turn over to the city the amount due from the prior month.

However, some restaurants get behind if they use the money to pay operating expenses and then are unable to make it up when it comes due, Treasurer Ron Williams has said.

Ainsley said the oldest month for which the restaurant is past due is April 2014.

Compton has also had charges of failure to pay meals taxes before, in 2008 and 2012. All of those were dismissed, according to an online court records system.

Her arraignment on the new charges is set for May 15. Compton did not return a message left at the restaurant Tuesday.