By Daniel Cody
Few restaurants are as iconic as a Greek Diner.
The Georgia Diner had been a staple in Queens at its location on Queens Blvd. at 55th Avenue, across the street from Queens Place Mall. Six years ago it moved to take over what was Nevada and once Pops Diner just a few blocks west. Bridgeview Diner at 9011 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn is well known for its extra large food portion for the past four decades. Well known for serving food any time of day or night, the restaurant spots are staples in both boroughs.
Fast forward about 32 years from 1991, the estate of the most recent former owner of the Bridgeview and Georgia diners, represented by attorneys appointed through the Nassau County Public Officer, settled with the state government in a tax avoidance case on Wednesday, Dec. 6.
As a result of this legal agreement, the estate of Dimitrios Kaloidis – the previous owner in question – must pay over a million dollars in penalties and owed taxes plus interest.
Adorned with holiday decorations for the season’s festivities, the current Georgia Diner is an exemplar of the New York eatery: desert cases, velvet-colored leather booths, chrome trim and other aspects of ‘50s-era Americana are immediately apparent upon entry.
Staff at the Georgia Diner told the Ledger that its current facility in Elmhurst has been around for “about six years.”
Before that, Georgia Diner was located near the Queens Mall.
When asked if the diner was popular with Elmhurst residents, and if it had regular customers, a server cocked a smile and said, “yeah!”
The Bridgeview Diner in Bay Ridge, located on one of the neighborhood’s many busy avenues, is a popular 24-hour restaurant in the Brooklyn borough.
The Bridgeview Diner’s website described the establishment as “a longtime mainstay in Bay Ridge with many improvements and a new exciting and delicious menu.”
Despite the notable reputation of both diners, their finances have come under scrutiny by the state government.
An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that Kaloidis underreported taxable receipts and filed false tax returns for years, violating the New York False Claims Act.
The investigation concluded that Kalodine Ltd. and Nevada Diner Inc., the parent entities of Bridgeview and Georgia Diner, respectively, collected taxes from patrons on cash receipts, however, Kaloidis pocketed taxable income instead of reporting it to the state.
According to court documents provided by OAG, Kaloidis had kept two records of business at Bridgeview Diner in Bay Ridge: one for the morning and the other for afternoon customers.
The morning set of books recorded credit card and cash receipts from diner sales. However, the Brooklyn diner also maintained a separate set of books in which afternoon cash transactions went unreported and pocketed by the former owner.
The cash revenue at Bridgeview Diner accrued in the afternoon was separated into $10,000 cash “bricks” which Kaloidis used for personal and business purposes.
The Georgia Diner in Queens inappropriately remitted a portion of sales tax revenue from the state altogether.
The NYFCA allows whistleblowers to file a civil complaint, and in turn, share a portion of the recovery. Adjoining the government as plaintiff is the estate of deceased Thomas Skordilis, survived by Ioannis Skordilis.
The estate of Dimitrios Kaloidis, who owned both the diners until he died in 2019, is obligated to pay $1,187,272 in owed taxes plus interest and $334,307 in penalties.
The agreement also requires the estate to pay $356,913 to the estate of the whistleblower.
As a result of last week’s settlement, OAG will cease its investigation into the Bridgeview and Georgia Diners.
“When New Yorkers pay taxes, they should feel confident that those funds will help support our state’s investments in education, health care, transportation and services all residents rely on,” said Attorney General Letitia James in a press statement.
“By pocketing these tax dollars, the former owner of these diners violated New Yorkers’ trust and deprived our state of essential resources. These recovered funds will now go to invest in our state, and hopefully, this settlement sends a clear message that my office will hold tax cheats accountable,” James said in a press release.
Cash-only businesses are prone to tax scams because documenting revenue relies on analog book systems. No credit or debit cards, no logs.
The management of Bridgeview Diner and Georgia Diner declined to comment.
*Diner staff spoke to Queens Ledger under the condition of anonymity. The Queens Ledger offers anonymity for individuals who could be at risk to their personal safety, employment status or housing accommodations. For more information contact [email protected]