Trying to shame tax delinquents into paying, the Massachusetts Revenue Department yesterday posted on its website Web site the names of 1,481 individual and corporate taxpayers who collectively owe the state $140 million.
The list found at www.massdor.com shows only a name, the amount owed, and the city and state or country of residence. Only taxpayers owing more than $25,000 were listed. No information on what type of taxes are owed or how old the debts are is provided. Many of the corporations on the list appeared to have gone out of business.
Five corporations were listed as owing more than $1 million apiece, with one company, identified as Mondev America Inc. of Boston, owing $6.9 million. There was no phone listing for Mondev in the Boston area.
The biggest individual tax delinquent was identified as George Varoudakis of Danvers, owing $1.1 million. A company he apparently used to run in the mid-1990s called New England Caterers Inc. was listed as owing $585,768.
Varoudakis, according to previx ous Globe stories, has had a long history of problems with law enforcement and tax collection authorities. He owed the city of Everett $1.6 million in back taxes at one point in the late 1990s and paid $800,000 before going to federal prison on arson charges, according to a 1999 story. Varoudakis could not be reached for comment.
The Massachusetts Revenue Department, which has tried to ease budget pressures on the state by aggressively pursuing money it is owed, hasnt released the name of tax delinquents in more than a decade.
An agency spokesman said the process was set in motion more than nine months ago when 1,800 notices were sent to delinquent taxpayers indicating they owed the state money. Six months later each taxpayer was notified that his or her name would be published if payment wasnt forthcoming in the next three months.
Timothy Connolly , the agency spokesman, said 300 of the delinquent taxpayers stepped forward at that time and paid a total of $1.5 million to the state.
Connolly indicated the public naming of delinquent taxpayers was being done only after all other efforts to collect the money had been exhausted. He declined to be specific about what measures had been taken.
Other individuals and businesses in Massachusetts regularly pay their taxes, he said. These people didnt. Were trying to enforce the laws as fairly as possible.
Most of the top 10 individual tax delinquents either couldnt be reached for comment or had unpublished telephone numbers or no phone listing at all. Richard Faro of Ipswich, who was identified as owing $396,811, was the only member of the top 10 the Globe could reach.
All I know is its a discrepancy, and my accountant is handling it, Faro said in a brief telephone interview. I dont want to even talk about it. Im 72, and Im too old to get involved with this.
Gary Burris of Dalton, who was listed as owing $685,992, was indicted by the state in 1998 for failing to report $7 million in income between 1991 and 1994 from a business that operated a video arcade in Pittsfield and leased video and vending machines to area bars.
He allegedly owed $295,000 in taxes at that time, according to a previous Globe story. Burris could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Another individual showing up on the list was Morris Goldings , a former Boston defense lawyer who was sent to federal prison after being convicted of stealing $17 million from clients and colleagues. The Revenue Department said he owes $64,313 in back taxes.
A Jose Canseco of Boca Raton, Fla., was identified as owing $30,668 in taxes. It could not be determined whether Canseco was the former baseball player who played with the Boston Red Sox from 1995 to 1997. The former baseball player, who grew up in Miami and has owned homes in South Florida, currently lives in California. He couldnt be reached for comment last night. There is no phone listing for a Jose Canseco in Boca Raton.
None of the corporations listed as owing the state the most money could be reached for comment. Most had no phone listings in the towns where the Revenue Department said they were located.
In Boston, two restaurants were on the business list. The Marliave Restaurant was listed as owing nearly $167,000, while the Daily Catch, identified as Calamari Fisheries Inc. Daily Catch , was listed three times owing $83,202, $41,655, and $25,549.
Employees at the two restaurants said the owners were not available for comment.