State tax officials have seized about a third of the rooms at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach for nearly $6 million in unpaid back taxes.
The latest tax lien placed on the hotel shows unpaid back taxes of $189,377 as of July 1. The tax lien is among $439,582 owed by the hotel this year and $527,728 owed this year in back taxes by the hotel's owner, Allen Rosenberg of Woodmere, according to state tax warrants.
State tax officials seized 50 vacant rooms at the 143-room hotel Wednesday, just before the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. The move was an attempt "to encourage" Rosenberg and the hotel to settle the tax liabilities, said Cary Zitner, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
Seizure notices were placed on the doors of rooms that hotel management was not able to rent to guests.
Allegria manager Nasser Samman said Thursday the hotel "is working very closely with New York State to solve this issue."
"It's almost solved," Samman said. "We are in business and continue to be in business and apologize for any inconvenience to our customers."
The hotel -- a centerpiece of the Long Beach Boardwalk -- emerged from bankruptcy twice since 2003, most recently in April 2014.
Mike Johnston, chairman of the Long Island Hotel and Lodging Association, said it is rare for tax collectors to close blocks of rooms to collect debt. The move particularly hurts seasonal hotels like the Allegria that may not be able to emerge from debt, he said.
"It doesn't benefit anyone," Johnston said. "The question is, what's the last resort? It says, 'If they're not going to pay us, we're closing you.' How long can you go without paying your taxes?"
Tax auditors have filed 25 outstanding warrants during the past five years against the hotel owner Alrose Allegria LLC, including 12 warrants for sales tax debt, according to the state department.
The debts from 2010 through July 1 have an outstanding balance of $5,989,830, state documents show. Rosenberg and the corporation have paid off about $1.5 million in previous warrants from the state since 2011.
The Allegria "has a lengthy history of noncompliance when it comes to paying the State taxes in a timely, voluntary manner as required by law," Zitner said in a statement Thursday. Long Beach city officials said the hotel is current with its city property taxes.
"It will be lifted soon," Samman said of the seizure. "Yesterday we were operating, tomorrow we're operating and 100 years from now we will still be operating."
With Victor Ocasio