Local Rita’s Italian Ice Owners Involved in $5 Million Lawsuit
The owners of several Hudson Valley Rita's Italian Ice locations are alleging something colder than ice.
The DeAngeles Family owns Rita's Italian Ice franchises in Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Peekskill, Danbury, Brooklyn and Bethel, Ct. According to Westfair Communications, the owners have filed a $5 million malpractice lawsuit.
The problems began when the family sold off their local Dunkin' Donuts stores in 2011. According to the lawsuit, the accounting firm of Brendon Pierson Inc. didn't file the proper paperwork after the sale. The error wasn't noticed until years later when the family was hit with state and federal tax penalties.
According to the lawsuit, that was just the beginning of their problems. The accountants also allegedly missed a filing deadline that caused the family to be hit with a $55,000 tax liability. The family claims that the bungled tax bills ruined their credit rating and destroyed an opportunity to open more franchises, including a location on Coney Island.
The family says they found the perfect spot in Coney Island to open their next Rita's location. They paid an architect to draw up the plans, purchased the franchise agreement and even posted signs all over town saying that the store would be opening soon. After sinking tens of thousands of dollars into the venture, the state of New York refused to issue them a sales tax certificate because of their unpaid taxes.
The lawsuit also claims that the family has suffered personally from the accounting firm's mistakes. Mortgages and even student loans for family members have all been declined because of the ongoing tax issues.
Westfair reports that the $5 million lawsuit accuses Brendon Pierson Inc. of accounting malpractice, gross negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.