The Taco Tico on North Summit Street in Arkansas City was one of 10 Taco Tico restaurants in Kansas closed by the state Department of Revenue on Monday for failure to pay state sales taxes.
Employee Brady Harris, a senior at Ark City High School, said the restaurant's closure came as a surprise.
"There was a scare one time before, but there wasn't any warning this time," Harris said Wednesday.
He said he wasn't personally present when the business was seized — his last day at work was Sunday — but his manager, Kathy Herbert, told him the state came in, took all the money and escorted employees out.
Harris said the local Taco Tico's 10 employees "were like a family. We all knew each other really well. We were really close."
On Monday morning, Kansas Department of Revenue and Alcoholic Beverage Control agents seized the business assets of Ajax International Group, doing business as Taco Tico, which owed $434,939 in state sales taxes, according to a department press release.
The business at 505 South Broadway St. in Wichita and 10 restaurant locations, including the restaurant in Arkansas City, were sealed closed and the assets will be sold at public auction to pay the taxes owed, according to the press release.
However, an attorney representing the Wichita-based business' owner, Mohmood Karim, said his client plans to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy as early as today and that he plans to reopen some of the restaurants.
"We'll try to open them as soon as we possibly can," Wichita attorney Bill Zimmerman said. But it's likely that not all restaurants will be reopened.
"The plan is to find the most profitable ones," he said.
Revenue Department agents seized all known bank accounts, on-site cash, business inventory and personal property assets belonging to Karim, according to the press release.
Warrant execution occurs when all other collection attempts executed to bring the taxpayer into compliance have been exhausted, a Department of Revenue spokeswoman said.
Those attempts include multiple letters, telephone calls, letters of impending legal action, tax liens filed with the local district court to secure the debt, previous bank levies and on-site till taps.
Only after several unsuccessful attempts does the department take the action of seizing assets, she said.
Seized Taco Tico locations include those at:
• 2506 N. Summit St. in Arkansas City;
• 125 North Baltimore Ave. in Derby;
• 1603 West Wyatt Earp Blvd. in Dodge City;
• 2102 N.W. Topeka Blvd. in Topeka;
• 929 North Broadway St., 2015 South Seneca, 460 North West, 3257 E. Harry St.,1303 North Tyler and 11333 East Central Ave.
Traveler intern Grant Urban and managing editor Andrew Lawson contributed to this story.