Two Syracuse restaurants have been closed at least temporarily after they were seized by the New York State Tax Commission for back taxes.
Munjed's Middle Eastern Cafe and the Metro Lounge both are owned by Sammer E. Essi. After the state closed his restaurants on Wednesday, he posted notices on their front windows saying "We apologize for the inconvenience. We are temporarily closed due to an unforeseen tax issue. We are working with the tax department to resolve the issue ASAP."
According to the Post-Standard, the State Tax Commission issued several tax warrants on August 27 as follows:
• Arabian Nights Ltd., trading as Munjed's Middle Eastern Cafe, 530 Westcott St., Syracuse, $8,187.
• Sammer E. Essi, individually and as a responsible person of Arabian Nights Ltd., $8,187.
• Sammer E. Essi individually and as a responsible person of Metro Lounge & Cafe LLC , $7,605.
• Metro Lounge & Cafe LLC, trading as Metro Lounge, 503 Westcott St., Syracuse, $7,605.
Also, according to the newspaper, in July 2012, the state issued a $10,291 warrant against Arabian Nights Ltd. (Munjed's) and a $19,673 warrant against Metro Lounge.
The current balance owned to the state for Munjeds' is $8,923 and the balance for Metro Lounge is $3,480, according to tax department spokesman Cary B. Ziter.
Tax problems are nothing new to Essi. In 2009, the state briefly seized Munjed's for nonpayment of about $21,000 in taxes, but Essi worked out a deal while tax agents still were on the scene.