Best of Tampa Bay's scofflaws: Who's not been paying their state taxes?
Wake up and good morning. For the first time, the state began in November releasing the names of the biggest tax scofflaws in each Florida county — and in the Tampa Bay area counties, there are plenty of scofflaws.
According to the Florida Department of Revenue, there are dozens upon dozens of businesses and people who are not paying their taxes worth, in total, millions of dollars. For a state desperate to make up astounding budget deficits these days, you'd think taxes would be enforced more vigorously. What's especially curious is that come highly populated counties, like Pinellas County, have no scofflaws listed by the Florida Department of Revenue while other counties, like Leon County (Tallahassee area) and Duval County (Jacksonville) are swimming in scofflaws. What gives?
The state Department of Revenue began in late November publishing the list on monthly basis. The publication includes taxpayers with unsatisfied tax warrants or liens of at least $100,000, or the two taxpayers with the high outstanding bills in a particular county.
These taxpayers have failed to pay or arrange to pay their debt, despite repeated attempts by the Department to collect the amount due.
Here's how the names were selected. 1- Taxpayers who have unsatisfied tax warrants or liens totaling $100,000 or more. 2- In counties where no taxpayer has warrants or liens totaling $100,000, the two taxpayers with the highest amount of warrants or liens are included. 3- Taxpayers who are in bankruptcy, who have entered into and are current on a stipulated payment agreement, or who have in place a payment agreement with the Department of Revenue, are excluded.
So who's on the scofflaw list from Tampa Bay? Here's a small sample. Go to this Web site for the complete list from the state.
Hillsborough County: The Kikiki III Lounge, 1908 W Kennedy Blvd., owned by Stephen D. Garrett, has multiple citations for failure of pay taxes of about $80,000.
Pinellas County: No listings (is that a sign of higher moral conduct in a high density county or perhaps a lack of reporting to the state?).
Pasco County: Aurora of Tampa Bay at 27405 Wesley Chapel Blvd. owes in excess of $150,000. That's the address of Remington's Steakhouse whose owner was arrested in August on charges he failed to pay sales taxes. Ibrahim Srour of Wesley Chapel, then 46, told an investigator for the Florida Department of Revenue that he knew he was delinquent in paying the taxes — but he used the money to keep his business going. More details here.
Hernando County: Kim C. Perry, who does business as Mary's Fish Camp in Spring Hill, faces multiple citations for unpaid taxes of more than $85,000.
Citrus County: George Gianuzzi, owner of Quatro Automotive Services in Lecanto, has multiple citations of unpaid taxes in excess of $26,000 which is being pursued via the courts. And Dr. Snooze, a mattress and bed retailer in Crystal River, has two citations for more than $30,000. According to the Ocala newspaper here, Satesh Ramsaran, 20, of Ocala, was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 19 on a felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds and refusal to file returns and pay taxes. He owns Dr. Snooze.
Statewide, there are nearly 500 citations in the Florida Department of Revenue list of unpaid taxes.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist