TAMPA — The Internal Revenue Service has four tax liens pending in Hillsborough Circuit Court against owners of the Manhattan Hairstyling Academy, totaling more than $700,000.
Records state that Robert Valdez Sr. and his son, Robert Valdez Jr., failed to pay payroll taxes and some personal income taxes. Yvonne Valdez owes payroll taxes and Kimberly Valdez owes personal taxes, the IRS alleges.
Valdez Sr. said Wednesday, "The tax liens were incorrectly filed and we are working actively with the IRS to get them withdrawn. We've been in the community for 55 years and there is absolutely no risk whatsoever to the business."
He said the liens were filed against him, his ex-wife, son and daughter-in-law personally — not against the cosmetology school.
The federal government holds officers of a business personally responsible for collecting payroll taxes.
The Valdezes have deep Tampa roots.
Valdez Sr.'s parents founded their first beauty school in town in 1951 as a complement to the budding salon chain.
The company now has six Tampa Bay area locations.
Management remained in the family as more schools and salons opened across Florida.
Manhattan Hairstyling Academy currently employs 70 people and boasts more than 7,500 graduates since 1960, according to the school's website.
The Valdezes have been active in the Krewe of Venus, a staple of the Tampa social scene and annual Gasparilla parades.
Valdez Jr. and his wife, Kimberly, were last in the news in 2009 when their 16-year-old daughter, Jordan, hit a homeless pedestrian with her SUV.
She ultimately pleaded guilty to leaving a fatal crash scene, was sentenced to two years of juvenile probation and lost her license for five years.
Valdez Sr., Valdez Jr. and Yvonne Valdez are each named in a lien for $473,584 in payroll taxes from 2009 and 2010.
Additionally, the IRS alleges that Valdez Jr. and his wife owe $71,158 in personal income taxes from 2009 and 2010, and that Valdez Sr. owes $160,608 in personal income taxes from 2008 to 2010.
IRS officials have placed liens against the Valdezes in the past, only to later release or withdraw them.
Yvonne Valdez said the liens are being dealt with, and there will be no ill effects on the Manhattan Hairstyling Academy brand.
"We've been around for 50 years and we'll be here for 50 more," she said.
Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3373.