Business & Real Estate

Troubled developer Alizadeh faces new lawsuit

Roseville developer Abe Alizadeh, his real estate and restaurant empire in tatters, is being sued by the U.S. government for millions in unpaid payroll taxes.

The government sued Alizadeh and three siblings over their “persistent failure” to turn over millions of dollars in federal withholding taxes. Also named as defendants were four corporations that operate what’s left of the Alizadeh family’s restaurant holdings, including four Sonic drive-ins and the Suede Blue and Crush 29 restaurants in Roseville.

Alizadeh, an Iranian immigrant who came to the United States in 1977, built a huge development and restaurant business before his fortunes failed in 2008. Most of his corporate entities filed for bankruptcy protection, owing a combined $390 million.

In early 2011, Alizadeh was arrested on charges of deliberately failing to pay $7 million in California sales tax and state withholding taxes. He pleaded no contest to a charge of felony grand theft and two misdemeanor charges. He was spared prison time under an agreement to pay the state $1.2 million over four years.

The federal lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, says Alizadeh and his siblings “are aware of their obligations under the federal employment tax laws but continue to refuse to comply with them.”

According to the lawsuit, Alizadeh owes the government $7.6 million. His brother Meran (Mike) Alizadeh owes $10.2 million, while his sisters Azita and Mitra Alizadeh each owe $151,000. The restaurant corporations owe a combined $3.1 million, the lawsuit says.

Abe Alizadeh and his lawyer weren’t immediately available for comment.