Scofflaw rolls a litany of woe

If you went looking for tales of business gone wrong, you could hardly pick a better starting point than the new list of the Top 250 sales tax debtors this year from the California State Board of Equalization.

Joseph Boudames, for example, owes more than $3.6 million in unpaid sales taxes, penalties and interest listed to both himself, at a San Mateo address, and for Boudames Business Machines Inc. of San Francisco.

He’s on the record as losing a court appeal of two counts of failure to pay sales taxes totaling $160,000 and one count of trying to bribe the state auditor who assessed the unpaid tax.

Like many on the list, Boudames could not be reached for comment.

Then there’s Ramirez Developers Inc., which allegedly owes more than $1.28 million and is facing an ongoing suit from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office on various allegations. Add Club Ante in San Mateo, which has accumulated more than $710,000 in unpaid taxes and penalties since closing in 2004.

The new list aims to recoup unpaid sales taxes, which totaled around $2 billion in the 2005-06 fiscal year alone, Board of Equalization spokeswoman Anita Gore said.

“This money goes for state and local governments,” Gore said. “We have to date collected $2.6 million through this effort … If they enter into an agreement to pay us, their name will be removed from the list.”

The longer businesses take to pay, the higher charges mount, with an 11 percent noncompounding interest rate plus a 10 percent penalty on the principal every month.

“That’s absolutely out of proportion to whatever I really owed,” said Eliezer Shaul of San Francisco’s now-defunct Sterling Heights International, a jewelry business on the list. “The original amount was about $100,000.”

He erred by not charging sales tax on wholesale orders, he said.

Stephen Squires, a San Mateo antique casino-machine rental businessman whose machines were seized in 2006, said his former businesses owed sales tax on the rentals, though tax was paid on the machines’ eventual sale. He criticized the board as unwilling to negotiate.

“They won’t talk about it,” Squires said. “They can do most anything they want to do.”

kwilliamson@examiner.com

businessBusiness & Real Estate

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Changing zoning in San Francisco neighborhoods where single family homes prevail is crucial in the effort to achieve equity. (Shutterstock)
To make SF livable, single-family zoning must be changed

Let’s move to create affordable housing for working class families

Most Read