Cactus Willies named tax evader by state comptroller
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:13

Buffet named one of top 25 evaders in state

by Ben Boehl

    Local restaurant Cactus Willie’s is getting the sort of publicity that most businesses want to avoid.    
    Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot recently announced the names of the 25 businesses and 25 individuals collectively owing nearly $15 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest to the state of Maryland — and Cactus Willie’s, located across Eastern Avenue from Eastpoint Mall, is one of them.
 The restaurant, which is legally known as Cactus Buffet Essex, Inc., was one of the 25 businesses listed, with the comptroller’s office reporting that it owes $83,855.91 as a business and that Brian Kropp, Ahmed Tayel and Mohamed Abdelrady — listed as the officers of Cactus Buffet Essex, Inc t/a Cactus Willies — were accessed $52,515.47.
    According to business listings website manta.com, Kropp is listed as the owner of Cactus Willie’s.
    Comptroller’s office spokesperson Barbara Sauers explained why Kropp, Tayle and Abdelrady also faced personal liability as officers.
    “These officers were identified to be responsible for a portion of the liability which is less than the fully assessed amount on the business entity,” Sauers said.
    “Under Maryland law, an officer is only liable for the period of time in which they were serving as an officer.”
    Neither Kropp nor any representative of Cactus Willie’s responded to requests by The Eagle for comment.

Cactus Willie’s and the other businesses were named as part of Franchot’s “Caught in the Web” program, in which the comptroller’s office periodically publishes a list of the top 50 violators on the agency’s website as a way to motivate those businesses and individuals to pay.
    “The Caught in the Web program highlights the small number of Marylanders who have chosen to take advantage of the benefits of this great state, but who make a conscious effort to avoid paying taxes,” Franchot explained.
    “These are not people simply down on their luck and unable to pay, but individuals and business owners who knowingly thumb their noses at the vast majority of Maryland taxpayers who fulfill their legal obligations to the state.”
    According to the comptroller’s office, the program started in 2000 and the agency has been able to collect more than $27 million from delinquent taxpayers whose names appeared on one of the agency’s lists.