Landmark East Deer restaurant in limbo
Any effort to reopen East Deer's landmark restaurant-bar will require payment of more than $25,000 in delinquent Allegheny County “alcoholic drink tax” and costs.
Creighton Hotel owner Cary A. Rigatti of Hilltop Drive, Lower Burrell, said he closed the business at 995 Freeport Road on March 19.
Rigatti said he has a potential buyer who wants to reopen the restaurant and bar and retain the Creighton Hotel name. The business is more than 100 years old.
Rigatti declined to identify the purchaser Thursday, but said he is optimistic.
A liquor license transfer would require state approval.
“We're very disappointed,” said East Deer supervisors Chairman Anthony Taliani. “It's a loss.”Taliani said the restaurant has recently employed about six people, and those employees paid taxes.
He is hoping the business will reopen under new ownership.
The Creighton Hotel opened in 1907, and the Rigatti family purchased the eatery, bar and small hotel in 2001. County assessment records show the hotel and the 5,400-square-foot lot are valued at a combined $222,600.
Tax less than 5 years old
The county drink tax, based on liquor sales, was enacted in 2008. In 2009, the tax rate was reduced from 10 percent to 7 percent.
County Special Tax Division Manager Bob Miecznikowski said the government took Rigatti to court and a judge ruled in favor of the county earlier this month.According to a judgment, the judge ordered C. Rigatti Inc., doing business as the Creighton Hotel, to pay more than $25,000 once penalties and costs were added.A county website that lists delinquent drink tax accounts alleges the tax hasn't been paid for the Creighton Hotel for about 2 1⁄2 years.
In all, about 50 business — including 10 in the Alle-Kiski Valley — owe the drink tax.
At the Creighton Hotel, a large sign announces the closing and thanks customers.
Sheriff's department notices are posted on the building's many doors, including one near six mailboxes for people staying there.
In addition to announcing the forced closing, the sheriff's notice announces an April 26 sale of the liquor license, a stove, coolers and other items.
Sheriff William P. Mullen said the sale will be canceled if the tax, penalties and costs are paid before then.
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman said any liquor license transfer “must be done through the board.”
Kate M. Diersen, an attorney who filed the civil judgment action for the county and also is in private practice, said a sale of the business and PLCB transfer of license can often be done swiftly.
Miecznikowski, the tax manager, said the county doesn't know how much businesses owe for the drink tax because of the way the tax is calculated.Each company is supposed to submit a “coupon” listing its monthly liquor sales, and some companies don't file the report, let alone pay the tax, Miecznikowski said.The county collected about $38 million in drink tax revenue in 2008, about $27 million the next year when the tax rate was reduced and $32.2 million last year.
About $3.9 million was collected for the first two months of the year, Miecznikowski said.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alle-Kiski seniors attend Walk the Red Carpet event
- Pittsburgh man taken for wild ride on Route 28
- Suspect admits to arson in Harrison
- Freeport High School students rise to the challenge
- Allegheny Valley board approves contracts for assistants
- Highlands extends superintendent’s contract for 3 years
- New Ken raid nets 2 suspects, $4,000 in drugs
- Mia Z voices no regrets after failing to advance on NBC show
- Route 819 in Bell Township reopened after fatal car accident
- West Deer burglary suspect arrested
- Grateful Deer Lakes alum donates artwork