Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hours after Raid, Hotels in Business; Owner's Attorney Says Agents Made a Big, Unnecessary Show

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hours after Raid, Hotels in Business; Owner's Attorney Says Agents Made a Big, Unnecessary Show

Article excerpt

Byline: WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA - The owner of five Augusta hotels raided and padlocked by the Georgia Department of Revenue Monday morning said later that he's all paid up.

Thirty revenue agents and officers from other agencies seized five Augusta hotels at 8 a.m. for their owner's failure to pay sales taxes and employee withholding taxes, department spokesman Reg Lansberry said.

Owner Jugal Purohit said all of his hotels are open for business but that the Department of Revenue agents had told his 350 guests to leave so he will rebuild his occupancy from scratch starting with reservations for tonight.

"With the economy, we got behind in payments, but we reported the figures all the time to show we are sincere," he said.

Purohit, who has done business in Augusta for 20 years and been a U.S. citizen for 10, said he felt like a victim because the revenue agents laughed at the prospect of seeing him deliver nearly $1 million.

"They treated me like a dog," he said. …

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