Former BK owner behind on payments

Published 10:09 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

FRANKLIN—The former owner of six area Burger King restaurants was able to avoid jail time last summer when she agreed to pay back meals taxes to three communities she operated restaurants in.

However, Samina Azhar, the head of Azhar Holdings LLC, has failed to make required payments for several months, officials say.

Azhar’s six restaurants, located in Franklin, Windsor, Smithfield, Chesapeake and Suffolk, abruptly closed in 2008, and she faced charges related to failing to pay meals taxes and operating without a business license.

Last summer, Azhar agreed to make monthly payments to the city of Franklin and the towns of Windsor and Smithfield to pay off the delinquent meals taxes, which totaled more than $90,000—most of that amount. More than $68,000, was owed to the city of Franklin.

In Franklin, she was required to make payments of $2,865 starting Aug. 1. The payments were to continue for 23 months; on the 24th month, she was to be required to pay the balance.

“She made payments of $2,865 for August, September and October,” said Franklin City Attorney Taylor Williams. In October, Williams said, the payment came in two checks, and Azhar hasn’t paid anything since.

“We haven’t heard from her,” he said.

Officials in Windsor and Smithfield said they also haven’t received a payment since October, when Azhar made partial payments to the towns, according the towns’ treasurers.

“We’ve turned it over to the commonwealth’s attorney,” Smithfield Treasurer Ellen Minga said. Commonwealth’s attorneys in both Isle of Wight and Southampton counties could issue orders to show cause for Azhar to appear in court. Plea agreements kept Azhar out of jail, but they were contingent upon her payment of the back taxes.

According to officials, Azhar still owes more than $60,000 to Franklin, more than $12,000 to Windsor and nearly $10,000 to Smithfield.

Burger King restaurants formerly owned by Azhar in Franklin, Chesapeake and Smithfield reopened under new management last year. The Windsor restaurant reopened under new management earlier this month.