On September 15, the Department of Revenue seized property at 116 East Main Street in Gloucester. On average, DOR seizes about 80 properties every year for failure to pay delinquent taxes.
But this Gloucester seizure was different. The property, the Catfish Grill Inc. doing business as Harbor House, was seized because the taxpayer, Robert E. Lockwood II, is the 100 percent owner of the beneficial interest in the realty trust and also has 100 percent interest and control of all the restaurant's assets, even though his name appears nowhere on property records, tax records, or licenses.
Lockwood owes DOR approximately $2.6 million, a tax debt first incurred 20 years ago from a bar he operated in Cambridge. He has failed to file tax returns from 2004 through 2007 and only after he was fined $40,000 by a Superior Court Judge did he produce them. He is a willful tax evader and one of the state's top 10 tax delinquents.
Lockwood lives in a home in Beverly assessed at about $4 million, but the home is not in his name and so is shielded from levy or lien.
DOR believes Lockwood has hidden interests in many other businesses; those hidden interests prevent DOR from collecting on his tax debt through conventional collection techniques such as bank levies or property liens.
DOR is interested in learning more about Lockwood's hidden business enterprises. If you have information, please contact the DOR Fraud Unit at 617-887-6780.