GREENFIELD — Riley House Restaurant has been closed indefinitely by the state amid allegations the business owner owes more than $350,000 in taxes and has been operating illegally since 2012.
A closed sign was propped by the door of the business at 1020 W. Main St. on Tuesday. State officials said the business will remain closed until the back taxes are paid.
Restaurant owner Kimberly Lawrence reportedly owes more than $353,800 in unpaid taxes dating back to 2006, court records state.
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That total includes $277,000 in unpaid sales tax, nearly $34,000 in unpaid withholding tax from employee payroll, more than $40,000 in unpaid food and beverage tax and the rest in unpaid corporate tax.
The Indiana Department of Revenue filed a motion to close the business Tuesday in Hancock Superior Court 1. Once the motion was approved, paperwork ordering the restaurant to shut its doors was hand-delivered, according to a news release from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.
“Our state supports commerce and small business; but when a company fails to pay the tax it owes, that undercuts the market and is unfair to law-abiding businesspeople who pay their taxes on time,” Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in the release.
According to the attorney general, the state revoked Riley House Restaurant’s Registered Retail Merchant Certificate in November 2012, a license that is required to be maintained in order for a business to stay open.
The restaurant continued to operate illegally since the revocation, the release said.
The restaurant will remain closed until a hearing on a permanent injunction, scheduled for Monday.
Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell expressed dismay Tuesday over the news, adding that the building has housed a restaurant for as long as he could remember.
“I certainly hate to see any business go out, and a lot of people went there,” he said. “I’m really sorry to hear that this has taken place. However, if you’re required to do certain things, … you have to do them to have a business that’s going to function.”
Fewell said he drove by the Riley House Restaurant on Tues-day and was puzzled to see the windows darkened.
“It’s just absolutely disappointing to have some place that’s been an icon for so many years have to go by the wayside,” he said.
There have been no state criminal charges filed against the business owner to date.