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November 5, 2008 - 4:22pm

State says: Pontillo's Pizza in Batavia owes more than $112k in back taxes

posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, finance, Pontillo's.

Monday morning, Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia closed up shop temporarily for renovations. "It's all good," owner Sam Pontillo told Daily News reporter Joanne Beck. In that article, which appeared in the Tuesday edition of the Daily, Beck wrote that Pontillo "expects to re-open ... within a couple of weeks."

One has to wonder if that's really the case. Owing to an anonymous tip, The Batavian has learned that "Pontillo's Pizzeria" in Batavia owes more than $112,000 in unpaid taxes to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. In an attempt to collect those funds, the state department has issued six tax warrants to "Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc." totalling $58,379. Another roughly $53,000 in unpaid taxes were the subject of warrants issued to other "trade" names of Pontillo's.

Finance Department Spokesperson Susan Burns:

"Generally, the tax department tries to work with the taxpayer and work on some sort of negotiated settlement in order to satisfy those warrants. Generally we like to see everything come to a positive outcome, and that's generally what happens in these situations. Sometimes, is there a time when a business is seized? Yes, that happens also."

No seizure of property has yet been made by the state, however, Burns said. Pontillo's is not faced with any deadline when the taxes must be paid. Burns stressed that the department does its best to negotiate a settlement before it comes to legal seizures.

In a records search at the Office of the Genesee County Clerk, The Batavian turned up six tax warrants issued to Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. Two of those were for withholding tax, three for sales tax and one for corporate tax, explained Burns. They were issued between March 28 and October 17, of this year. All are still outstanding.

In addition to these, we discovered another tax warrant issued to "Sam's Tomato Pies Inc." and "Pontillo's Pizza" in the amount of $36,117.80. Another warrant in the amount of $17,585.03 was issued to "Pontillo's Pizzeria." Burns explained that "Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc." has been trading under the name "Sam's Tomato Pies Inc." for about a year or so now. Pontillo's Pizzeria is the sort of general rubric that comprises the Batavia Pizzeria Inc. and Sam's Tomato Pies. That entity is responsible for all of the owed taxes listed under all three "trade" names, which amounts to more than $112,000.

A warrant was also issued to Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. by the New York State Department of Labor in the amount of $1,640.92. The Workers' Compensation Board of the State of New York has also filed a judgment in the amount of $1,250, in addition to a civil suit filed with the state's Supreme Court.

Whether this is related to the recent closure of Pontillo's, we cannot say. The Batavian tried to contact Sam Pontillo earlier today. We left a message at the Pontillo's restaurant in Le Roy at 3:30pm. We also tried a telephone number listed for John Pontillo in the Batavia phone book, but that was disconnected.

Bill Blevins
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Were there workers there over the past couple of days doing renovations?
Daniel Jones
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Yikes.
Philip Anselmo
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Bill: When I stopped by the restaurant this afternoon, the parking lot was closed off and the place was empty.
Brian Hilburger
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I hate to see this happen to a great family that has giving a lot to their employees. I did worked on and off at Pontillos for over 8 years from 1995 to 2003. I have personally seen the family help out many employees during their time of need. I hope this blows over soon so the Pontillos can get back to making pizzas and being a huge part of the culture of Batavia!
Bea McManis
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Hilly wrote, "I hate to see this happen to a great family that has giving a lot to their employees. I did worked on and off at Pontillos for over 8 years from 1995 to 2003. I have personally seen the family help out many employees during their time of need. I hope this blows over soon so the Pontillos can get back to making pizzas and being a huge part of the culture of Batavia!" I totally agree. Pontillo's has been part of the fabric of Batavia for many years. It was the place teens could meet after school functions without their parents worrying. Many of Batavia's youth worked their way through high school at Pontillo's. Sam was like a second father to them. The family went through a horrible loss when Sam died. While we would like to believe that the business would continue without bumps in the road, it is quite possible that the transition from one generation to the next did not go smooth. It wouldn't be the first time and it certainly won't be the last. Hopefully, they can work their way through this. Batavia wouldn't be the same without Pontillo's.
Brian Hillabush
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Holy Cow, I did not write that. I must meet the other Hilly.
Bea McManis
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Brian wrote, "Holy Cow, I did not write that. I must meet the other Hilly. " mea culpa - sorry Brian.
Brian Hillabush
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I am more blown away at this point that his name is so close to mine, Bea. It is very possible that there is another member of The Batavian family that could share my nickname - and has the same first name as me. That is some weird stuff right there.
Gabor Deutsch
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This is some serious news. Hope you continue this story. Thats some serious allegations and/or back taxes. At least its not like china king and the deer story. If its county money they owe then they should pay. I would miss their pizza and wings. Buffet was great too.
Philip Anselmo
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Gabor: We very much hope to continue the story, and I have been doing everything in my power to do so. Unfortunately, Sam Pontillo has not yet called me back, and I am unable to find working numbers for the other two brothers.

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