Archive for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kansas Department of Revenue locks door on Jefferson’s Restaurant in downtown Lawrence

If $46,848 in taxes isn’t paid, dollars on walls could be used

Jefferson's, 743 Mass., was seized by the state Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 for failure to pay nearly $47,000 in taxes.

Jefferson's, 743 Mass., was seized by the state Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 for failure to pay nearly $47,000 in taxes.

February 8, 2011, 2:47 p.m. Updated February 8, 2011, 5:15 p.m.


A decorated dollar bill at Jefferson's Restaurant.

A decorated dollar bill at Jefferson's Restaurant.

For years, patrons have posted decorated dollar bills to the walls of Jefferson’s Restaurant. Those bills soon could go toward paying off the restaurant’s back taxes.

On Tuesday morning, the Kansas Department of Revenue and Alcohol Beverage Control shut down the downtown restaurant for failing to pay $46,848 in taxes.

The state agency seized all bank accounts, on-site cash, business inventory and personal property belonging to the restaurant’s owner, Jason Franklin, and the parent company, FatLab Inc.

If the back taxes aren’t paid, the restaurant’s assets will be sold at auction to pay the taxes owed to the state. If it gets to that point, the state will take the dollar bills off the wall and apply them to the owner’s debt, department of revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said.

The owner hopes to work things out first.

On Tuesday afternoon, Franklin said the closure involved a misunderstanding with the tax filing and the restaurant is expected to reopen Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. The owner would not comment on what that misunderstanding was.

Opened in 2000, Jefferson’s is known for its fried food and large crowds during Kansas University basketball games, along with its unusual wallpaper. By lunchtime on Tuesday, the restaurant was dark and signs from the department of revenue were posted on the door.

The restaurant’s tax warrants date back to June 2009, when $39,648.98 was owed.

Warrant execution occurs when all other collection attempts have been exhausted. Those attempts include multiple letters, telephone calls, tax liens filed with district court, bank levies and on-site till taps.

Only after several unsuccessful attempts does the department take the action of seizing assets, the department of revenue noted.


Michael Stanclift 7 years, 3 months ago

Just start taking dollar bills down off the walls, should come pretty close to the fees.

Tim Quest 7 years, 3 months ago

What goes around, comes around. Good riddance, Jason (and Jeff).

JustNoticed 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh man, where can I get me some of that? Don't tease, bubba.

BruceWayne 7 years, 3 months ago

liked the wings...service was the WORST!

pace 7 years, 3 months ago

I hope they reopen. I like the shrimp. I always thought the short short bouncy wait people were a misjudgment of id.

somedude20 7 years, 3 months ago

I guess the Jeffersons are not going to be moving on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky but rather a jail cell

rtwngr 7 years, 3 months ago

They're not finally getting a piece of the pie either.

Gaius_Baltar 7 years, 3 months ago

RIP. That place was special to me. It was from going there for lunch when I first moved here 8 years ago and didn't know anyone that I started to get about downtown Lawrence more. Jason was always nice to me, and Jeff was especially nice. I will miss it.

rumor_man 7 years, 3 months ago

I guess this means that Vermont Street BBQ will be opening up in Jefferson's building.

davisnin 7 years, 3 months ago

I was going to buy Jefferson wings for dinner tonight....

Aaron Carpenter 7 years, 3 months ago

That's what you learned in college, to blame others…….money well spent.

emceelean 7 years, 3 months ago

I would be fine with Jefferson's not being subjected to the tyranny of taxes so as long as they could exist independent of tax-funded utilities e.g. roads, sidewalks, public safety etc,.

And, of course, it can't.

troll 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe they will pull a "Papa Keno's" and open back up tomorrow.

sr80 7 years, 3 months ago

put in another smoke shop.lets get these college students puffing,so we can feed the state tax machine.can't you hear the stomach growling of the great oz!!!!

Clark Coan 7 years, 3 months ago

Personally, I never liked their greasy "southern" food but it was always busy.

blindrabbit 7 years, 3 months ago

liked the food; place needed a good cleaning though! Windows were filthy; sidewalk a mess during summer outside service! You wonder, why I went, me too!

vulcan8 7 years, 3 months ago

Jefferson's was a good place to get a pitcher of beer and eat some greasy food, but I always remember standing in the hallway waiting for the restroom and beginning to slide towards the kitchen. That place needs some serious 409.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 3 months ago

L-One: "Too bad, I guess the mafia, err, the government needs a cut." === Reminds me, "What's the difference between Organized Crime and the government? the Mob is organized." Liked the food there.

vulcan8 7 years, 3 months ago

oh, and the fried corn nuggets were stupid good.

mattvely 7 years, 3 months ago

Jefferson's is great. Back open soon, just a speed bump.

gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

Glad I got in there late last week. Hope the staff land on their feet.

Curtis Lange 7 years, 3 months ago

Whew! Story was updated and looks like they'll be back open soon.

notanoobhere 7 years, 3 months ago

Horrible sysco food horrible service and looks like bad management. Where will the fratastic fools go now?

Randall Barnes 7 years, 3 months ago

oysters guess i need to find someone who serves them.

alfie 7 years, 3 months ago

Look for yourself , hit business, type in Douglas, many names

Judgesmails 7 years, 3 months ago

ouch! those are some big numbers!

charging tax but not paying it - lame

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

Total amount owed in Douglas Co. = $2,519,606.68. I am sure bigger counties such as Sedgwick & Johnson owe way more.

There's your budget shortfall.

Brian Conrad 7 years, 3 months ago

and without these small businesses Billions less collected . support businesses in down economy do not run them out. I am sure the amount above was a days interest for the money Kansas lost in the give away to Wallstreet and AIG. Citibank ( owned mostly by a Saudi prince ) Chrysler ( owned by German company) .. there is you budget shortfall. these idiots in Washington have way more effect in the money Kansans have to spend . heck 2 million a small bonus for lower level wallstreet exec. keep feeding the FAT HOG and gripe about the little teenie teenie piglet.

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

Most were not "small" businesses as if you are owing over $169,000 in sales tax, you are making a lot of sales. If you'll also notice, the same names keeping popping up on that list from multiple years of back taxes.

I'd rather the state collect the delinquent taxes that are owed (to the tune of millions) rather than rinky dinky feel good cuts in spending that just equals thousands in savings.

$2,519,606.68 owed hardly equals the teenie teenie piglet. That is what Douglas County alone owes in sales taxes & withholdings taxes. There are other counties in the state of Kansas, despite the beliefs of some.

Brent Fry 7 years, 3 months ago

Don't go crazy over that amount. Most of the figures included in the warrants are "assessments" which means the State has calculated their sales tax due on the behalf of the business. I'm sure if any of these people actually try to get their mess cleaned up, they will file the correct sales tax returns and the amount due will actually be much less.

CHKNLTL 7 years, 3 months ago

once the window of filing has passed, the assessments are due unless you can find a good accountant and all supporting paper work to prove your "actual" amount. what if that means its higher? the revenue system also calculates penalties, interest, on top of that. don't forget civil penalty --a fine you pay to society for your crime, after the rest of it is paid in full.

LogicMan 7 years, 3 months ago

Interesting lists of businesses and individuals.

I understand the money owed for withholding and sales taxes, but what are "MOTOR CARRIER PROPERTY TAX" and the others?

SeaFox 7 years, 3 months ago

Isn't it interesting that Jefferson's is shut down for forty-six grand when the Creation Station owes over a quarter million dollars in back taxes and is alllowed to stay open?

SeaFox 7 years, 3 months ago

Scratch that reply. I must have been thinking of another business. Creation Station is "only" $32,000 in the hole.

igotokutoo 7 years, 3 months ago

Jason is a great guy! And though the service may be slow at times (they're always busy), the waitstaff is always super friendly! They will be opening back up in no time!! <3 Jeffersons!

castarke25 7 years, 3 months ago

Ever since the new owner took over, the place has gone down hill!!! If the creator/original owner had stayed, Jeffersons would be just fine!!

Mr_F 7 years, 3 months ago

You are correct, but when Jeff owned the place it was ran very well. Jason....not so much

castarke25 7 years, 3 months ago

he was actually the general manager at one point, before Jeff had sold him a percentage, and then down the road he sold him the Restaurant.

Aaron Carpenter 7 years, 3 months ago

Pretty sure this isn't about "big brother", maybe more about personal responsibility, which you should be for.

Brian Conrad 7 years, 3 months ago

get behind with IRS. way worse than the mob. 5 thousand will turn to 50,000 with penalties and interest faster than DC can spend it. this IS about BIG brother spending . even the mob knows sometimes better to settle for half and hope for more taxes in future, instead of cutting off the arm of the guy rolling the dice.

beerbaron03 7 years, 3 months ago

"The state agency seized all bank accounts, on-site cash..."

The real question is whether all the cash on the walls was part of the "on-site cash" that was seized.

SeaFox 7 years, 3 months ago

The money on the walls is technically "defaced currency", a federal offense IIRC, and may not be legitimate anymore.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 3 months ago

Actually that isn't entirely accurate.

The bills would be considered mutilated and the U.S. Treasury would replace them for free if the bills meet the criteria of the program (which a large percentage of the bills inside Jeffersons would.

As for the "defacing currency" argument I was curious and briefly looked it up and it appears it is very doubtful that anyone would be charged with that in this situation. The applicable code provision is 18 U.S.C 333. There is an intent provision that would most likely not be satisfied.

coderob 7 years, 3 months ago

In the article a lady from the state said they would take it if they had to.

yellowdot99 7 years, 3 months ago

Darn, I bought friends gift cards there for Christmas, I hope they used them already.

otto 7 years, 3 months ago

Wonder why other people that are on the list are still operating? Have they been making some payments or something? For instance Transmasters towing is on the list and they are still open.

slowplay 7 years, 3 months ago

A slight misunderstanding?
"Oh, those back taxes. I thought you meant the OTHER back taxes".

Had a burger there a few years back. It seemed OK. I do remember the rather short skirt the waitress was wearing, so I probably wasn't concentrating on the food.

Aaron Carpenter 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm sure this didn't have anything to do with Jeff. Jeff was a great owner and as an employee for several years he became a good friend. Jason on the other hand was just not a good owner. He wasn't a good owner from day 1, was verbally abusive to the girls and was known for making obscene, lewd comments. I am not surprised by this, I just feel bad for the current employees.

igotokutoo 7 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 3 months ago

Amazing how some people, every time this happens, complain about big government.

These people were ripping you off, adding 8% to your bill and then pocketing it.

But hey, let's blame it on the government.

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

That is what I don't get. How do you get behind in your sales tax? It wasn't something that was yours to begin with. You are collecting it on behalf of the state & for some reason, I was under the impression that it is supposed to be sent in quarterly.

It was bad enough that some local businesses were collecting extra sales tax from their customers & now we have quite a few businesses were just are not paying their sales taxes. And many of these are still open & operating.

bad_dog 7 years, 3 months ago

"How do you get behind in your sales tax?"

Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Highly indicative of poor cash flow management, IMHO.

flyin_squirrel 7 years, 3 months ago

Katara, you obviously don't own a business and/or work for a big corporation or the government. If only business was as easy as setting your sales tax aside every month...

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

You already know that is money that is not part of your profits.

It is not difficult to tally up your receipts at the end of the business day and see how much is sales tax. Don't put that money in with your general fund or put that money in your pocket.

It isn't that difficult. You know what the tax rate is & you know you already collected it from the customer. There is no reason to dip into the money you collected for sales taxes unless you are poorly managing your business.

Judging from some of the amounts owed (one business over $169,000), this are not businesses that are lacking in sales. Even when you account for the penalties assessed, that is a lot of sales that those particular businesses had.

How do you explain not paying your sales taxes when business is booming? Many of these cases date back to 2005-2006.

And on top of that, before it even got to the point where there was a tax warrant issued, each of these business owners had several opportunities to make some sort of arrangement. They were given many chances to make good on the back taxes & chose not to.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

One business had an employee that stole $60,000 instead of using to pay bills and taxes. The owner was unaware until checks started bouncing. Later the IRS started proceedings to take his business.

From what remember, the employee did little or no time for the offense.

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

And how often does that actually happen?

Scott Morgan 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm getting a distinct feeling some of our Lawrencian citizens wish for high taxes, but only people and businesses they don't like. The farm in another county like Brownback's tax um high, but not for mouth breathing onion armpit 3 time fellon Gilly who re-sells produce at the farmers market nothing.

I liked Jefferson's mucho grande beuno. But, play by the rules mi amigo.

parrothead8 7 years, 3 months ago

It's amazing how many people/businesses in Douglas County have back taxes owed and are still open...some of them owe MUCH more than Jefferson's.

coderob 7 years, 3 months ago

But on closer inspection, I wish it had pictures. Other state registries do it...

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

All those on that warrant list went thru the same process that Jefferson's did. It means that they didn't do anything about their back taxes situations either. Those are court cases on the far right side. They may have worked out a payment plan or some other agreement but it was not until all other collection methods listed above were done. Please don't whitewash their behavior. They had just as many opportunities to take care of it as Jefferson's.

Alceste 7 years, 3 months ago

Grandstanding by heretofor pretty worthless Department.

With just a bit of "luck", I do suspect Jefferson's will be back open, if not Friday, soon thereafter. Even though they overcook the burgers, beats the hell out of Free State Brewery ambiance wise....particularly during lunch and before 7pm......

dontcallmedan 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe we can get a break from that sickening, greasy fried chicken air pollution that covers half the downtown on a bad day.

veronicacorningstone 7 years, 3 months ago

They didnt even serve fried chicken did they? Im pretty sure Jefferson's was and is not the only restaurant that sells food made with grease!!!!!

greenworld 7 years, 3 months ago

why does all these business's around town think they can run a business without paying taxes to own and run one. This is crazy. THis is like not the first business that this has happened to. So if its a mis-understanding why do they have to come in and close his azz down and why in the hell cant he make calls and respond to letters and not act like an irresponsible kid. What a F-ing deadbeat!!!!

Brian Conrad 7 years, 3 months ago

you sir are the biggest idiot. your parents probably handed you a silver spoon. go out in the real world and open a business. unlce sam will be your biggest partner. fact is 80% plus businesses fail , at least some have the nuts to go work hard and attempt to make it. Real joke is AIG money was more than ALL failing small buisnesses collected in tax combined. BAIL OUT Wallstreet and they take record high bonuses again this year. BUT never have compasion for your nieghbor working to provide another choice for all of us. personally have only ate there once . just walk in the man's shoes before throwing stones.

tornadohawk 7 years, 3 months ago

I feel for jason. Running an eating establishment is not easy. Theres more too it than most of you haters will ever know. Easy to sit on your computer and bash somebody, oh sorry, thats probably your job----working for someone else.

Emily Campbell 7 years, 3 months ago

fried pickles- Burger Stand at the Casbah, 23rd St. Brewery, and SmashBurger are the ones i'm aware of. 23rds use to be awesome until there was more batter than pickle :(

weatherguy48 7 years, 3 months ago

Re-open the place, then put it on Kitchen Nightmares. Watch chef Ramsey stomp around screaming about cleaning. That guy could put the fear of God into anyone!

Brian Conrad 7 years, 3 months ago

Many do not understand. with sales tax and payroll taxes you pay these far behind collecting. when the economy crashes it is very hard to cut salaries and overhead as fast as the decline. very easy to rob from peter to pay paul. restaraunts have taken especially hard hits . cash flow very delicate thing. Rent in downtown stays high even when economy goes south.

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

Many of those cases were from 2006-2007. The 1st number on the court cases is the year that it went to court... which means all collection efforts (letter, calls, etc) all occurred prior to that and prior to the economy crashing.

It is amazing the number of excuses people come up with.

And how do you fall behind on your sales tax? You collect when the customer pays it. You set it aside since it is not yours and should not be included in your business income. There is no excuse on not paying your sales tax.

MyName 7 years, 3 months ago

There is a pretty good excuse: if paying the tax means you won't be able to pay your employees, your suppliers, or your rent. Now it may not be what the guy should have done, but it's not like he's the only small business owner to ever do that, or even the only large business owner.

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

The sales tax is collected from your customers. They are the ones paying the sales tax on your products. The business owner is not. The business owner is simply the collector of those taxes. It isn't the business owner's money. It was the customer's money.

CLARKKENT 7 years, 3 months ago



mattvely 7 years, 3 months ago

Look, places like Jefferson's are what makes Lawrence a great town. It adds to the town to have some different flavors. If you don't like the food, not sure why you bash it, just don't go there. The economy is/was pretty bad. Causualties are imminent, and its a slippery slope once you fall behind. If it came down to paying employees or Uncle Sam, then that's a tough decision that many rank and file workers on this website will never ever have to make in their lifetime. Ownership is for the few not the many. That said, $46k seems small to me. I bet 100 turbo wings and a basket of shrimp jammers that it gets cleared up soon. Place is usually jamming with customers. Speed bump is all.

garyr 7 years, 3 months ago

hmmmm......Looks like Matty here may have some connections to this joint?????

garyr 7 years, 3 months ago

hmmmm......Looks like Matty here may have some connections to this joint?????

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago


All taxes should be paid to the correct entity, and in a timely manner.

Lee Eldridge 7 years, 3 months ago

Should have just stiffed his employees and cut off benefits in order to pay the taxes!

Running a small business is tough. I think we can probably cut the guy a little slack. Most small business owners are honest and extremely hard working. Falling behind on taxes has happened to many businesses who were doing all they could to keep their businesses afloat.

KOVERFIELD 7 years, 3 months ago

For those of you making the bad business comments. Just want to help you understand a little bit about sales tax. As a "local" business owner I happen to have open accounts which allows customers to charge, which unfortunately is what I have to do to compete against the Big Boxes and other Corporate owned stores. Therefore I pay my sales tax on a monthly bases on sales billed out not received and on top of that the State of KS requires businesses to pay half of the next months estimated sales tax before that is even collected. Last year I had over $50,000 of those customers file bankruptcy in which I had already paid my sales tax on. At that same time unemployment taxes almost doubled, my employees health insurance increased 30%, property taxes rose and so on and so on! I am not a cheater I am only a small local business owner trying to struggle to compete against the Big Boxes and continue to provide the best customer service I can. Pass judgment once you have walked in our shoes !!!!

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry you are having that trouble.

But letting customers have charge accounts is inherently risky, and not necessary, in my opinion, to compete with big stores. Many people shop at local smaller businesses without them.

veronicacorningstone 7 years, 3 months ago

Have any of you people ever gotten in over your heads? Had a sitiuation get out of hand? This is not the only business that this has happened to. Jeffersons is a great place for families and partiers alike go for AMAZNG wings. Let's show support and wish Jason well! Keep the faith Jason!!!!!

emceelean 7 years, 3 months ago

No offense, but wings are among the most simple and crowd-pleasing things on any menu. I'm sure you can poll anyone on the street about the most "AMAZNG" wings in town and you'll get a wide variety of responses.

veronicacorningstone 7 years, 3 months ago

Ok then how about the Shrimp Jammers, Fried Pickels they have good food!!

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

Great excuse! I think I'll rob a bank and if I get caught, I'll just tell them I was just in over my head & I had a situation get out of hand. Or maybe they'll go light on me if I make AMAZING wings!

Bottom line, this guy stole money from his patrons. It was not his to keep or use to cover his butt when business was bad.

greenworld 7 years, 3 months ago

anyone that gets behind running a business either doesnt know how to keep a reserve account on hand or plain and simple wants to put more in his pocket than pay the bills. You can always blame,blame,blame on everybody and everything else but there comes a time when you should man or woman up and just say I f-ed up and get things squared away. to say that downtown leases are high and pass the blame on unemployment and the economy is crap. excuses are all the same. Walmart makes it being a monster everyday and still runs everybody else out of business and you wanna know why, because their evil and they can.

auntiesocial 7 years, 3 months ago

How is it that everyone is so sure that this is in regards to the collection of sales tax? Did I miss something in another article somewhere? As a restaurant owner myself, I can attest that there are a great many taxes that come at you from a great many directions, especially where Kansas Alcohol Beverage Control is involved.

gidget049 7 years, 3 months ago

you all need to really think of these young people working at jefferson.... they needed a job or they would not be there these poor young people have NO JOB AND NO PAYCHECK.. AND YOU KNOW THEY WILL GET PAID LAST IF AT ALL... BE SORRY FOR THEM AND QUIT DOGGING A BUSINESS THAT WAS TRYING IN THIS ECONOMY

igotokutoo 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank you! We work really hard and people commenting about how crappy they think Jeffersons is really doesn't help our situation. It's nice to know people feel for us!

PhogPhanatic 7 years, 3 months ago

I am so bummed that this place is closing!!! This is definitely one of my favorite Lawrence establishments - if I had the money, I'd get them all squared away. This sucks.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 3 months ago

The Secret Service might be interested in the defaced currency. I would think there would be a law against displaying and encouraging something like that.

(Forwarding this article to their Wichita field office.)

auntiesocial 7 years, 3 months ago

Well aren't you a charming individual - how pleasant of you to go out of your way to add to someone's troubles...

Tanya Green 7 years, 3 months ago

Love their wings, but seems that a few years back that they "forgot to renew their liquor license" and could not serve beer. How does a college bar forget to renew their liquor license? Maybe LHS has a crash course in management 101!

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