Local residents of Morrow, Georgia, were stunned to receive the news that a popular area eatery was closed down on Friday and owner Jimmy Tselios was arrested on multiple felony charges. The City Café Diner was closed and the doors chained after a joint investigation between the State Department of Revenue, Department of Homeland Security, the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, and the Morrow Police Department revealed tax violations and multiple incidents of passing of bad checks.
According to 11 Alive, that is not even the end of the story. New information of other improprieties was uncovered on Friday and this information was also turned over to the district attorney’s office.
Records indicate that an investigation into City Café Diner’s practices was initiated after it was found that over $100,000 in bad checks had been written to local vendors and that the establishment owed over half a million dollars in taxes to the state of Georgia despite the fact that it had collected the taxes. The back taxes accrued over the course of roughly two years.
The restaurant will remain under government supervision until all of its legal and fiscal matters are settled. It is uncertain as to whether or not it will eventually reopen, but the possibility exists that it will once a court receiver is appointed. Local officials indicated that they would like to see the restaurant reopen as they felt that it would lend an element of economic stability to the area. Morrow Police Captain James Callaway summed it up.
“We’d definitely like to see it run correctly and legally for the economic stability on the southside.”
When questioned by WSB-TV, owner Jimmy Tselios insisted that he was innocent and attributed the improprieties that led to his arrest and the closure of the restaurant to multiple other factors.
“We could never catch up. A lot of theft, management, employees, crazy people stealing left and right.”
Multiple former employees came out during the course of the investigation to say that the City Café Diner W2’s that they received over the years were always inaccurate.
Investigators also indicate that they are looking at an additional suspect who is currently out of state.
The state alleges that despite the fact that Tselios was writing bad checks and had been lax in paying City Café Diner taxes, he purchased a 2016 Mercedes Benz for $80,000. Tselios denies this allegation.
Tselios’s attorney, Jack Fishman, revealed to WSB-TV that City Café Diner is currently under contract to be sold and that if the sale is executed it will bring in enough revenue to pay off all of the diner’s creditors and cover all of its back taxes. The state granted Tselios a deadline of March 21 to see the sale to completion.
In addition to the felony charges, District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson indicated that she has formally filed a RICO lawsuit against City Café Diner in order to allow the state to seize its assets. She confirmed that her office would be requesting a court-appointed receiver to run the restaurant.
Tselios was arrested on the diner’s premises after agents showed up to serve a search warrant.
City Café Diner is located on a Mt. Zion Road, a busy and popular city thoroughfare. Its business model was based on being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and serving a menu that consisted of a variety of foods appropriate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts. Breakfast items were available over the entire course of the day.
Social media reviews of the restaurant were mixed and varied, ranging from one to five stars. Many patrons indicated inconsistency in both service and food quality.
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