Warrant issued on meals tax case

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

An arrest warrant has been issued for a former restaurant owner who failed to show up for two consecutive court appearances on charges of failure to pay meals taxes.

Jose Moncada was not in court Thursday morning, according to Deputy Treasurer Keith Ainsley. He also failed to appear last Thursday, when Judge Alfred W. Bates III granted a one-week continuance to give him the opportunity to come to court.

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.

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If they do not pay and get too far behind, however, the treasurer’s office begins to take collection action. One of the last resorts is criminal charges, which can result in jail time.

In February, the treasurer’s office sought that action against the owners of four eateries — East Coast Taco Co., owned by Moncada; Derl’z, owned by Donna Perry; Homer’s Drive-In, owned by Todd Frazier; and The Hog Pen, owned by Wanda Miller.

Of those four restaurants, only Derl’z is still in operation. The eatery originally owed about $9,453 from last July through December.

Ainsley said Perry has been making monthly payments toward the arrears while paying the current months on time. The debt is now down to a little more than $7,000, he said.

Homer’s Drive-In and The Hog Pen have paid the debts in full, Ainsley said.

“East Coast Taco is the only business in this latest round of collections that has not reached out and asked what they can do to rectify this situation,” Ainsley stated in an email Thursday. “All the others have been remorseful to us and the courts and took the necessary steps to clear up their accounts.”

East Coast Taco Co. owed $7,401 for August through December when the charges were issued in February.