Judge orders Shoneys to stay closed until back taxes are paid
A sign on the entrance to Shoneys in Corbin reveals the restaurant is closed because of unpaid taxes.
A southern Laurel County restaurant, closed in August because of a cockroach infestation, won't likely reopen anytime soon because its owners owe the state nearly $52,000 in back taxes.
Shoney's of Corbin was ordered to close by a Laurel County Health Department inspector on Aug. 15 following an on-site visit to the restaurant prompted by an anonymous complaint. The inspection revealed a "heavy infestation" of roaches that forced immediate closure.
The restaurant was approved to open back up shortly thereafter, but never did. Owners claimed they were using the incident as a time to upgrade equipment. The restaurant's outside sign claimed it was "closed for repairs."
But a News Journal investigation into the Shoney's franchise and its owners reveal deeper problems that will likely prevent the restaurant from ever reopening anytime soon.
The Kentucky Department of Revenue filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court in June against East Kentucky Food, Inc. claiming the company and its owners owed $51,922.03 in unpaid taxes. East Kentucky Food is owned by Bill Emendorfer, of Athens, Tenn., - the owner and operator of the Corbin Shoney's franchise.
Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued an injunction against East Kentucky Family Food on Nov. 15 forbidding it from doing business in the state of Kentucky because of the tax arrears.
Pamela Trautner, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Revenue, said she could not comment on what steps were taken to contact the owner or owners of Shoney's prior to the filing of the lawsuit because of confidentiality reasons.
East Kentucky Family Food Inc. was served notice of the legal action in August, but never filed a formal response to the suit and failed to defend itself in court.
To reopen, Shoney's would have to pay the back taxes in full, plus interest, and post an $8,500 bond with the Kentucky Department of Revenue.
Numerous attempts to contact Emendorfer for comment were unsuccessful.
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