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LAFAYETTE - Upon an order by Judge J. Byron Hebert of the 15th Judicial Court, Lafayette Parish sheriff’s deputies recently closed Rick’s Family Restaurant, 3701 Cameron Street, Lafayette, La. The closure resulted from nonpayment of delinquent state sales taxes, penalties, and interests.
Rick Watkins, owner of the restaurant, was judged in Contempt of Court for disobeying a November 6, 2000 court judgment to cease and desist operation of the business until all delinquent sales taxes were paid to the state. The state Department of Revenue originally took Watkins to Court in April of last year alleging Rick’s Family Restaurant failed to remit sales taxes collected from customers.
On April 17, 2000, Watkins was ordered by the court to close the business until all taxes, penalties, and interest were paid. Although Watkins was served with the court’s judgment, the business remained open. The state says no attempt was made to satisfy the outstanding sales tax liability. The state pursued Watkins failure to pay and received a judgment holding Watkins in Contempt of Court and ordering the business closed by sheriff’s deputies.
In issuing the Judgment of Contempt, Judge Hebert found that Watkins had willfully disobeyed the court’s order. The judgment warned Watkins that he would be sentenced to 30 days in jail unless he closed the business. Judge Hebert further decreed that his judgment would be a continual court order and that all further violations would be considered Contempt of Court. The judgment also ordered Watkins to reimburse the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office for any costs associated with the performance of their duty in the case.
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