December 6, 2021

Restaurant owners’ appearance in tax case postponed

Harry Tony's, Dark Horse Tavern, and A Pizza and more storefronts

Emily Au/contributing photographer

A Pizza & More, Hairy Tony's Pub, and Dark Horse Tavern are shown in this Cortland Standard file photo.

A Cortland City Court judge delayed a decision Friday until next month on whether to accept a plea agreement for two Cortland restauraunt owners accused of failing to pay more than $380,000 in sales tax between 2011 and 2015.

Judge Lawrence J. Knickerbocker said the court wanted more time to look at case information, including a plea offer, regarding George Seibel, 60, who owns Dark Horse Tavern in Cortland, and Anthony Caruso, 60, who owns Hairy Tony’s in Cortland. The two jointly own the A Pizza and More chain of restaurants.

Both are scheduled to appear at city court on Jan. 17. Seibel, Caruso and their attorney, David Burch of Syracuse declined comment Friday.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Tarkowski could not be reached.

Seibel was charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree criminal tax fraud and eight counts of first-degree offering a false instrument, felonies for his business Academy Avenue Enterprises, which owns Dark Horse Tavern.

Caruso was charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, one count of third-degree criminal tax fraud and six counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, in connection to his business, Hairy Tony’s, court documents show.

Both were charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree criminal tax fraud and six counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, felonies, in connection to their business APAM LCC, which owns A Pizza and More, court documents said.


Seibel charged for Dasher’s, too

George Seibel has agreed to plead guilty in Homer Town Court to neglecting to pay nearly $99,000 in sales tax from his restaurant, Dasher’s Corner Pub in Homer, court records show.

An agreement that state Assistant Attorney General Adrew Tarkowski notified Homer Town Justice William Foley of would have Seibel plead guilty to fifth-degree tax fraud, a misdemeanor, to satisfy a bill of one count of second-degree grand larceny, one count of third-degree criminal tax fraud and six counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, court records show.

Between June 1, 2012, and June 18, 2015, Seibel, via James and Main LLC, did not pay $98,629.32 in sales tax owed to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, almost half of the $201,822.79 they were required to pay, according to Homer Town Court documents.

The Homer court document reports that John Reagan, the accountant for Dasher’s, “relied solely upon a call, text message or fax from Seibel or Carol Graziano, Dasher’s bookkeeper, relaying the business’s quarterly gross sales figure.”

— Colin Spencer


Between March 1, 2011, and May 31, 2015, Caruso, owner of Hairy Tony’s at 104 Main St., Cortland, underreported his taxable sales by $1.6 million and failed to remit $131,024.98 in sales tax to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, court documents show, when the business should have paid nearly $285,000.

Hairy Tony’s had a point-of-sale system that could print a daily report that calculates collected tax sales, but Caruso did not provide that information to his accountant, John Reagan, court documents state.

Also, Caruso did not provide Reagan with accurate business records or other supporting documents for quarterly sales tax returns, the court document said.

Between Dec. 1, 2011, and May 31, 2015, Caruso and Seibel through APAM LLC underreported taxable sales for A Pizza and More by $1.9 million and failed to pay $158,653.28 in sales tax, court documents said, when the partnership should have paid nearly $306,000.

Between March 1, 2012, and Dec. 17, 2015, Seibel through Academy Avenue Enterprises, which owns Dark Horse Tavern, 96 Main St., Cortland, underreported about $1.1 million in taxable sales and failed to pay $90,895.47 in sales tax for Dark Horse Tavern, a felony complaint states, when it should have paid nearly $213,000 in sales tax.