TALLAHASSEE — Bill Kalfas, longtime owner of the Silver Slipper, a landmark restaurant that closed last year, was arrested Wednesday on bank fraud charges.
Kalfas, 56, is accused of making false statements to a bank and pledging the same assets twice as collateral for loans he obtained while he operated the restaurant.
U.S. Attorney Thomas F. Kirwin said Kalfas pledged the same furniture, fixtures and equipment as collateral for a $75,000 loan at ProBank of Tallahassee without disclosing that the assets had been pledged for an earlier loan at Wakulla Bank.
Kalfas entered a plea of not guilty during a brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate William C. Sherrill Jr. He was released on his own recognizance.
If convicted, Kalfas could get a maximum of 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.
For more than 70 years, the Silver Slipper was an institution in state politics, with its famous private dining rooms frequented by legislators, governors and even a few presidents.
Last year, Kalfas closed the restaurant, saying the combined impact of the recession and a law barring lobbyists from buying food and drink for legislators left him with no choice.
Contacted Wednesday, Kalfas referred questions to his lawyer, Mark Levine, who also declined comment.