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Hempstead eatery seized, closed by state

Nakisaki Restaurant of Hempstead received a last-minute reprieve

Nakisaki Restaurant of Hempstead received a last-minute reprieve Wednesday morning when it received a court-ordered temporary stay halting an auction of the restaurant's assets. (Aug. 3, 2012) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The Nakisaki Restaurant in Hempstead Village has been closed by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, which seized the property for $103,413 in back taxes.

The state seized the Jamaican-Chinese restaurant on Wednesday, tax department officials confirmed Friday. But the owners of Nakisaki, considered a staple of downtown Hempstead for the past 22 years, are trying to fight the confiscation of their family-owned restaurant.

"There was no warning," family matriarch and office manager Dorothy Lyn, 72, said Friday, after seeking an injunction in Nassau County Supreme Court. "They just told us, 'Get your personal stuff and get out.' "

The restaurant had 10 warrants issued between March 2011 and this past June. Five of the warrants, totaling $30,570, were related to withholding tax, and five warrants, totaling $72,843, were related to sales tax, tax department spokeswoman Cary B. Ziter said.

"We do owe sales taxes, and we have been paying religiously," Lyn said. "Every time we pay, they want more. . . . We are trying to see if we can resolve it and open again."

They were paying $6,000 a month in back taxes, but the taxation department wanted $10,000 a month, a price Lyn said they could not afford. They have paid $30,000 since April, she said. "We are not doing the amount of sales to cover that amount of money," Lyn said. "Business has been very bad."

The eatery's name was the nickname of its late founder, Earl Lyn, whose roots were in the Chinese community of Jamaica. The Fulton Avenue restaurant, with 23 employees, serves classic Jamaican and Chinese items.

"I'm sorry to see that happen to Nakisaki," said village Mayor Wayne J. Hall. "I don't know what the village can do to help them, but we would like to see them reopen again."

Doug Mayers, president of the Long Island Caribbean American Association, said his group had planned an evening business networking event at Nakisaki the day it was shut down. He urged the Caribbean community to complain about the seizure to the governor and state elected officials.

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