Royal N'Orleans owner charged with felonies for sales tax, bad checks

Thursday, October 22, 2009
The historic Royal N'Orleans building is for sale along Broadway in downtown Cape Girardeau. (Kit Doyle)

The owner of the now-closed Royal N'Orleans restaurant in Cape Girardeau faces felony charges for failing to pay sales tax and passing bad checks.

Derek S. Miller, 24, of Jackson waived a preliminary hearing in two criminal cases Wednesday during an appearance before Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp. Miller, who operated the restaurant with a partner beginning in 2006 and assumed full control in July 2008, is charged with failing to file sales tax returns for an 11-month period ending June 30 and failing to send the sales tax collected from customers to the state during a 14-month period ending June 30.

Miller's bad check charge stems from checks he wrote at Sam's Club in Cape Girardeau.

Derek Miller

Miller is scheduled to be back in court Monday in Jackson. He does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment.

The Royal N'Orleans, 300 Broadway, closed June 30 when Cape Girardeau did not issue a new one-year local liquor license. The Cape Girardeau City Council approved a conditional renewal of the Royal N'Orleans liquor license June 15, but the license was never issued because Miller did not meet the conditions set for renewal.

At the time, city officials said the liquor license was denied because the restaurant did not pass a fire department inspection and Miller did not respond to attempts to schedule a second inspection. Items that did not pass the first inspection included emergency exit signs that were not functioning and fire extinguishers that were not properly charged.

The city also said at the time that Miller's failure to pay the 1 percent city tax on restaurant sales was a reason for refusing to renew the liquor license as well as failure to obtain a sales tax identification number from the Missouri Department of Revenue along with a statement from the department that he owed no sales tax.

The tax case against Miller was developed by the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Missouri Department of Revenue. The department collects all sales taxes, both state and local.

In a sworn statement filed with the charges against Miller, special agent Tracy Adams said Miller operated the restaurant without a valid sales tax license beginning May 23, 2008, and without a valid state liquor license, also beginning May 23, 2008. "Derek S. Miller has made no attempt to pay his delinquent sales taxes or contact the Missouri Department of Revenue to arrange payment of his delinquent sales taxes," Adams wrote.

The amount the state believes Miller owes was not available Wednesday. Ted Farnen, spokesman for the Department of Revenue, said business owners who are delinquent paying sales or payroll withholding taxes initially are sent a letter requesting payment. If there is no response, a formal notice is issued giving the taxpayer 60 days to contact the department and arrange to make payments.

If there is still no response, a third letter giving the taxpayer 10 days to contact the department is the final step before court action commences, he said.

The department usually follows up the letters with calls to the delinquent taxpayer, Farnen said.

The state Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control on Wednesday was researching questions about how Miller was able to operate the restaurant without a valid liquor license, spokesman Mike O'Connell said.

The criminal charges aren't the only court actions against Miller since he closed the restaurant. On July 23 and again Oct. 7, the state Division of Employment Security filed notices with the 32nd Judicial Circuit in Cape Girardeau County that it had obtained judgments against Miller totaling $4,597.39.

The building housing the Royal N'Orleans has been for sale since March.

rkeller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent Addresses:

300 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

100 Court St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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