By Dustin Luca
---- — Dylan’s Bar & Grill, a decade-old downtown restaurant on Park Street, has been closed and seized by the state for failure to pay taxes.
The eatery led by owner Sam Petrovich for more than a decade was seized by state Department of Revenue examiners on Nov. 12 as part of an attempt to collect $191,763 in unpaid taxes, according to Ann Dufresne, director of communications.
About 95 percent of the arrears represents unpaid state meals tax dating as far back as May 2010, according to Dufresne.
The remaining $9,400 is outstanding local meals tax, with about $67 in withheld employee taxes, Dufresne said.
As part of the seizure, the contents of the restaurant — including furnishings, cash registers, equipment and more — are set to be auctioned off to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The proceeds will help offset the outstanding taxes, according to Dufresne.
The auction will take place at Dylan’s, 18 Park St., but a time had not been set as of press time on Tuesday, she said.
“Whatever the assets are that are produced by the auction will go toward the outstanding tax obligation, and whatever remains will remain the taxpayer’s obligation,” Dufresne said.
State seizures for unpaid taxes are rare, with none being reported in Andover over the last two years and only around 75 across the state carried out annually by the Department of Revenue, according to Dufresne.
“Often times, what happens with a seizure ... it’s a wake-up call for the taxpayer,” she said.
While Dufresne said she couldn’t discuss the specifics of Petrovich’s case due to confidentiality restrictions, she said seizures are typically a last resort for the Department of Revenue.
“This is an indication we’ve been working with the taxpayer for an extended period of time to deal with back taxes,” she said. “Before we get to this point, we work with the taxpayer. We send them notices, telephone calls, we try to work out payment agreements with them. In some cases, we do work out payment agreements.”
Petrovich couldn’t be reached for comment this week. In an interview last week prior to the seizure, Petrovich explained that the reason for the restaurant’s sudden closure was that “it was time to move on” and that he wanted to “be positive” about the situation.
Dylan’s website confirms that it has closed. Petrovich thanks “everyone for over 10 years of great memories.”
“We truly appreciate your business. Please look for an announcement on our new location,” he says.
However, when asked last week about a new location, Petrovich said he had no future plans to open up elsewhere.
Property owner Schnellinger Dagmar said she planned to lease the commercial space when it becomes available to a new tenant, be it for use as a restaurant or other activity.
The tax problem is specifically on Petrovich’s shoulders and doesn’t reach into the physical building, according to Dagmar.
“The property is fine,” she said. “I pay my taxes.”
The auction of the restaurant’s assets can be avoided if Petrovich pays the full amount owed before Dec. 3, Dufresne said. While the seizure process cannot be appealed, filing for bankruptcy can delay the taking, she said.