Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo The South Station Restaurant on Monday.
It’s unclear why the South Station Restaurant in Rutland is closed but there is evidence that the eatery owed tax money to the city and the state.
The popular restaurant and location of numerous civic and political functions closed suddenly Monday.
A note taped to the front door advised members of the Rutland Rotary Club that their lunchtime meeting Monday had been moved.
Another note taped to the inner door advised that the restaurant would be closed Monday due to technical difficulties but added optimistically, “See you soon.”
Owner William Gillam Jr., said Monday he had little to no hope of reopening the restaurant located in the Trolley Barn at 170 South Main St.
Gillam, the chef owner of the eatery since 2006, referred all other inquiries to his attorney — bankruptcy and real estate specialist Jess Schwidde. Reached by phone Monday, Schwidde declined to comment on the restaurant’s financial status or the reason for the closure.
City Treasurer Wendy Wilton said Gillam has had difficulty meeting his tax obligations for some time.
The restaurant has missed or made only partial payments on its 1 percent rooms, meals and entertainment tax dating back to December 2011. As of May 2012, Gillam owed $4,510 in overdue rooms, meals and entertainment taxes. He owes tax money for the 10 months since then but he stopped reporting his proceeds to the city, Wilton said.
The treasurer estimates the total amount of rooms, meals and entertainment tax owed to the city to be in excess of $9,000. Gillam also owes the city $137 in personal property taxes dating back two years.
“It’s a real bummer,” Wilton said. “We tried to work with him through a payment plan but it just didn’t work.”
The city isn’t the only taxing authority interested in the restaurant’s rooms and meals revenues.
The state of Vermont collects taxes on 9 percent of rooms and meals proceeds. It’s unclear if the restaurant owes the state delinquent rooms and meals taxes — Michael Costa, a policy director for the Vermont Department of Taxes, said Monday his agency cannot disclose information about taxpayers accounts.
He did, however, say that his department has an issue with South Station Restaurant.
“They are not in good standing with the Department of Taxes,” he said.
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