A quick review of the federal tax liens filed in Multnomah County as listed in last Fridays Portland Business Journal revealed this curious item:
Saucebox, Inc. 214 S.W. Broadway, Portland 97205 $160,196 (941)
941 would indicate that the lien is for unpaid withholding taxes on employee salaries. Also of note is the amount ($160,196). That is quite a bit of unpaid withholding for an operation the size of Saucebox. These liens are not that uncommon and the IRS is notorious for moving quickly on failure to pay withholding taxes because it is often the first death rattle of a company. You can continue to pay your employee’s their wages, you just begin to skip remitting the calculated withholding because cash flow is tight and you need the bucks to pay suppliers. Soon as the Feds see a couple of payments missed, they move in to get what is theirs before the doors slam shut for good.
No idea what this means for the other pieces of the empire, but it can’t be good.
Kai Jones says
Hrrm, I wonder whether there are construction liens for the space expansion. If they’re not paying payroll taxes, what else aren’t they paying?
Wait… am I on the wrong site? I thought this was a forum to talk about “Portland Food and Drink”… How in the world does this have any relevance to the purpose of this site? Aren’t we already up to our eyeballs in politics? At face value, this appears to be an attack.
Hey Food Dude, did you get fired from Bruce Carey?
It sure does seem like you have a personal vendetta…maybe stick to what you know.
Food Dude says
Sorry… it’s all food news. We’ve always covered this type of thing, and will continue to do so.
Bobby W says
Is nothing private? While I realize that this is a potential issue for the employees of Saucebox…I question the need to publish this to all Portland foodies. Owning a restaurant is no easy feat – and having someone shovel dirt on top of your still breathing body does not help!!!!!!!!!!! Eployees will surely become aware of the possible precarious state of the restaurant if, and when, the IRS begins questioning them regarding unpaid taxes/witholdings.
Stop trying to create the news!! Oh, and the Salmon at Saucebox was/is one of Portland’s best dishes.
Food Dude says
“Is nothing private?”
Um… this was taken from the newspaper.
Other than the notice above (which is a matter of public record) I don’t think it’s fair to speculate who’s paying and not paying what at BCR without talking to Bruce Carey. Bruce employs a lot of good people in this city. Furthermore, why speculate construction liens, etc? I don’t really think that’s fair.
Jason Wax says
It’s also important to remember that the IRS is very easy to deal with; they don’t want businesses or individuals to fail or seek bankruptcy protection. Most tax liens like the one FD mentioned can be handled by negotiating a low-interest payment plan with a local IRS agent. The interest rate is usually only marginally above market. This should not be cause for serious concern.
FD – Considering the responses you’ve gotten, even if it is something you’ve “always covered”, your attempt at smearing Saucebox once again seems to be all in vain. Nice try though…
Food Dude says
If I’d been trying to smear Saucebox, I would have repeated this from my last review:
“Note: if a recent happy hour visit is any indication of what is going on in the restaurant, my rating would drop to 1 star. We tried five dishes and were served what can only be described as some of the worst food I’ve had in a Portland restaurant. Pad thai with the texture of baby food. Spring rolls that were worse than something you’d find in the freezer case of your local grocery store. Even an order of french fries had little flavor except for the box of salt that was dumped on them. The only decent item was a burger, and it wasn’t anything memorable. Even the cocktails were out of balance, obviously counting on heavy alcohol taste and not any finesse to make them popular.”
I decided not to. Oh damn, now I have! You are so clever! Hmm… by keeping this conversation on top, I’m beginning to think YOU are the one out to get Saucebox!
Oooooooh, are those your feathers all ruffled?
Quit making it so easy to push your buttons. Your colors are showing…
If you hadn’t been trying to smear Saucebox (which is obviously what you are doing now AND then) you would have stopped your rantings at that last review. You wouldn’t jump at a chance like this to (as Bobby W so eloquently pointed out) shovel dirt on top of a still breathing body. Good form!
dan cook says
Excellent investigative work. I remember when newspapers did this sort of work.
Paul Bachand says
Been there, seen that, even have the t-shirt. (worked at this type of place) Not paying your payroll taxed is something that will catch up with you and hit you hard.
Dave J. says
I don’t think this qualifies as “smearing’ Saucebox in any shape, especially, as FD notes, the information was taken from public information, printed in a paper. It’s not like he’s rummaging through the dumpster behind Clarklewis to find incriminating evidence against the Bruce Carey empire. That said, I would have suggested phoning Bruce before running the story to get a statement from him–seems only fair.
Dave J. – The point is that Food Dude goes out of his way “share” this info with readers when he should be sticking to what he thinks he knows best, food? I’ve seen his other postings about Bruce Carey restaurants and it all points in one direction> VENDETTA. This is taking it too far.
Bobby W says
I do not mean to rouse the Food Dude…only to interject the perspective of someone that has owned a small restaurant, and also enjoys writing the occasional review. Perhaps this is an expression of my general opinion on all cultural reviews (food, music, art, etc.).
As mothers are known to say : “if you don’t have something nice to say, why say it at all?” With that in mind, a policy of simply not reviewing restaurants/cafes/eateries that do not meet your standards could preserve diplomacy. That said, keep up the good work; you can’t be popular with everyone.
And apologies for excessive or improper use of…, /, ; and :
If Food Dude did this – “As mothers are known to say : “if you don’t have something nice to say, why say it at all?” With that in mind, a policy of simply not reviewing restaurants/cafes/eateries that do not meet your standards could preserve diplomacy.”
How could he do this?-
“Throwing Ourselves on the Grenade of Bad Food to Save You”
…. a policy of simply not reviewing restaurants/cafes/eateries that do not meet your standards could preserve diplomacy.
I agree we should treat others as we wish to be treated. That said, when you are in the business of reviewing, you review for the diner, not the restaurateur, and are ethically obligated to tell the truth as you see it. This does not mean this is “the” truth — food is a subjective experience and thus, what tastes like lobster to me may to you stink of canned mackerel — only the writer’s truth. No one is obligated to read it. But the writer must tell the truth as he or she sees it. Otherwise, he or she has no business reviewing.
I recently met a writer whom I shall decline to name who was writing for a local publication I shall also decline to name. She told me the paper had instructed her to only write nice things about the places she reviewed. If she liked the lamb chop but hated the steak, she talked about the lamb chop. If the bathroom was filthy but the beer cold, she talked about the beer. She wanted to know what I thought of this policy. I told her, I thought it was lousy; that it was half a review, at best. I pointed out that she was also jeopardizing her credibility: if I go to the restaurant and have to deal with a stinky restroom and a crummy steak, I have lost faith not only in the restaurant, but the reviewer. I told her, reviewing is not a popularity contest; that there will sometimes be wrath from owners who claim, the reviewer is biased, or ignorant, or carrying out a vendetta. I told her, you’ll never risk any of this by only writing nice, but you also will not learn anything; you will churn out pretty copy that makes the world blander and our publications less trustworthy. More, that any publication worth its salt would not ask her to glorify the pedestrian or whatnot, and that great reviewers always write it as they see it, people like the NYT’s Frank Bruni, and the LA Weekly’s Pulitzer-winning Jonathan Gold (whose column I had the privilege of writing for a year when he took off for Gourmet). I told this writer she should read MFK Fisher, because she’s so enriching, so intolerant of badness, her writing both sensual and absolutely lancing. I told her to read the Atlantic’s Corby Kummer, and Jim Harrison on food. That these are the big guns, the people who would not consider compromising. Why, when there are an infinite number of more fascinating ways to tell the truth? I warned her this was not the sort of writing she would easily push in Portland, but that she might as well become a great writer and a great thinker as opposed to someone who’ll write nice.
“With that in mind, a policy of simply not reviewing restaurants/cafes/eateries that do not meet your standards could preserve diplomacy.”
Any review source that exhibited such an idiotic policy would soon lose me as a reader, as they would carry zero credibility.
All FD did was repeat something he read in a PUBLIC notice. It is not “private” information. Granted, he could have called Bruce for comment. But aside from that, the public, readers, and employees have a right to know such things. That hardly constitutes a vendetta. And yes, this in entirely relevant to this site. If you don’t like it, read puff_pieces_are_us.com.
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
Oooh, Food Dude repeated PUBLIC INFORMATION as TAKEN FROM ANOTHER PUBLIC PUBLICATION. That’s not a “vendetta”, that’s news.
Also, what Nancy said.
Too many publications and reviewers, especially in Portland, are too close to their subjects and too concerned on hurting feelings rather than telling the truth as their observations have it.
If you have nothing to hide and you put out a quality product on a consistent basis, you have nothing to worry about. Those resting on their laurels while letting quality slip, blaming others (like the “media’ or “bloggers”) for their problems and demanding only nice things from the media, get what they deserve.
I have my Jiffy Pop, my Hamm’s, my comfy Balvo T-shirt…
Please, oh please, let Bruce, or better still, Joe(!)
fire off some sort of flaming reply
hey, some of us don’t watch baseball…
Bobby W and others: stop blaming the messenger!
Didnt this happen last time? A bad word regarding Saucebox and all these people, who never post otherwise, flew out of the woodwork with indignant outrage that we dare tarnish the rep of the best place EVAR. One might think that they were all servers out to save their grats. My personal take is that Saucebox has given up the food trade for the lucrative liquor dollars, and joined in with the Concept Entertainment crap that is seen all to often downtown.
No kidding. To all commenters, if you don’t like what he posts, stop reading!
I don’t believe Food Dude did anything wrong by posting this tidbit of public information, however, I do believe that other forumers who are reading more into this should think before they type as unsubstantiated rumors can be damaging. Having said that, this is a blog and I don’t agree with Cesar who suggests the Hugo Chavez/Dick Cheney approach to the blogsphere: that we should stop reading if somehow disagree with the dude. I have always liked this site precisely because Food Dude has had the guts to speak his/her mind. The reviews on this site can be critical, but never mean-spirited.
I for one really like Saucebox, but I don’t go there for food unless it’s happy hour. Still, it’s a nice space with mostly friendly staff, good bartenders, and great deejays. The happy hour noodles may not be mind-blowing, but they’re like two bucks so who really cares.
brewmaster, what the hell does Hugo Chavez/Dick Cheney have to do with this post and string of comments? Do you even know the difference between Hugo Chavez and Dick Cheney? Get over yourself man.
It certainly appears those with the ruffled feathers are the oddly upset defenders of Saucebox. It’s just news — fit for a blog, or newspaper. I personally like to read news, as may investors who have given Bruce money. Running a restaurant is tough, but so is EVERY small business, of which I’ve owned a few. Bruce employs people? Sure. But he has made a ton of money off this town, which has supported him. It is fair and appropriate to mention a lien, just as everyone wants to know when a chef is leaving or a place is closing. This doesn’t mean the place is closing, it just means he has a cash problem. He’ll fix it or he won’t. In case you haven’t read anything other than this web site, there have been a few stories about the lack of cash available. Nothing is apparently “private” in the New York Times either.
Sensible, calm and thoughtfull.
the tri-tip, tri-lateral,triumverate
have had their boots on our necks for too long!
To the ramparts!
Food Dude says
I noticed that the Oregonian published a piece about liens against The Nines/Urban Farmer in yesterdays paper. Guess that makes them as bad as I am.
Any update here? Consumers should know this information Food Dude – whether they get it in the newspaper or online. Thanks for the vigilant coverage.
salty ham says
Oh the mighty bruce empire
seems to be in shambles
How’s he going to polish this one?
Sell the 80 grand curtain?
I think Bruce will do just fine. He’s a smart guy, and a good person who cares about his city and his employees. He has a lot more business acumen than most restaurant owners in Portland, and he employs many good people. These are hard economic times and the strong will survive.