Oy. H&H Bagels gives me tsuris.
Last year, the famous Upper West Side bakery was seized by the tax man and the place closed down for a few days. But, now, there's real trouble.
Helmer Toro, the owner of H & H Bagels, has been indicted on tax fraud charges, announced Robert M. Morgenthau, the outgoing Manhattan district attorney. Can it be that bad? It can. He failed to pay almost $370,000 in payroll withholdings to state and federal tax authorities, and shortchanged the authorities on paying unemployment insurance tax. Dude's facing 15 years in prison and $1 million in penalties. According to City Room:
Prosecutors say that Mr. Toro set up a new shell company every year for six consecutive years, closing down the company from the previous year, in order to maintain a low unemployment insurance tax rate. The longer a company has been around and the more employees it has let go, the higher the company’s unemployment insurance rate will be, according to M. Patricia Smith, commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor.
This makes me furious. I know I should give Toro the benefit of the doubt, but it's not my experience that old man Morgenthau acts before getting all his ducks in a row. What right has this greedhead putz to play fast and loose with a landmark business and city treasure so wrapped on with the soul of the Upper West Side? That it should possibly be sacrificed for one man's avarice and underhandedness is contemptible. H&H is undoubtably a cash cow. And he had to cheat the government and his ex-employees to get just that much richer? Employers who try to get around paying unemployment insurance are, in my opinion, the lowest of the low, gutter-crawling scum.
Let's hope that H&H can somehow survive. What matters to Toro I care not at all.