Nakisaki Restaurant of Hempstead received a last-minute reprieve Wednesday morning when the Nassau County Supreme Court granted a temporary stay halting an auction of the restaurant's assets.
Green auction tickets had already been handed out to bidders at the 22-year-old Jamaican-Chinese restaurant, which was seized and put up for auction by the state tax department for owing $103,413 in back taxes.
The auction would have sold off all items in the family-owned restaurant on Fulton Avenue, including multiple refrigerators and stoves, as well as tables, chairs and decor such as fountains.
"It makes us feel that at least the justice system works," said Dorothy Lyn, one of the owners. "I'm glad that the judge has a heart, and we're grateful for his intervention."
The restaurant was closed by the tax department Aug. 1, and the Lyn family had been fighting the ruling since then.
"I'm glad they got a stay; this was a mainstay of the Caribbean community for a long time," said Muir Desmond, who described himself as a loyal customer and was present at the auction as a bidder. "I hope they get back on their feet."
The state, however, still holds the assets of the restaurant, and Nakisaki will not be reopening until the case is settled.
"Our position is that the taxpayer owes the state of New York a substantial amount of money in back taxes, and that those taxes should be paid," tax department spokesman Cary Ziter said.
The restaurant had 10 warrants issued from the state between March 2011 and this June, five related to withholding tax and five related to sales tax.