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Last night, famed saloon Nathans closed, and Carol Joynt ended her 12-year stint as the restaurant’s owner.
In the last few days, Joynt’s been asking her patrons for a “citizens bailout,” saying that Nathans owes the city $22,000 in unpaid sales taxes from February, and she has no way to pay it.
(If you want the long, tortured history of Joynt’s experience with Nathans, the death of her husband, and millons of IRS debt, click here.)
As of last night, Joynt believed she was nearing her $22,000 mark. The last official count of donations totaled roughly $18,000. Then on Sunday, Jim Kimsey bought some old Nathans paraphernalia for $3,000 and today Buffy Cafritz offered up a check for $3,000.
Joynt’s son drove out to Bethesda to retrieve it. Other people have dropped by checks at Nathans as well.
But Joynt insists the bulk of the checks—-for smaller sums, $100 and down—-have come from people with old stories about Nathans.
“We had our first date at Nathans” they’ll say, or “I got drunk for the first time at Nathans,” Joynt recounts.
There will be no last minute sales of Nathans merchandise coming up though. Joynt says her lease forbids her to take any of the furniture or fixtures in the restaurant. There are liens on those items by the building’s landlord, who is trying to sell the place.
Joynt says that besides the outstanding payment from February, she still owes June and July’s sales taxes. May’s check is in the mail. (Office of the Chief Financial Officer was not able to confirm this information one way or another today; But a request is in.) (See below.) She also owes the landlord $15,000 on Wednesday for the latest rental payment. The owner’s lawyer Ronald Shapiro could not be reached prior to this posting.
Luckily besides the good will, Nathans received tons of patrons this weekend. The bar was astonishingly packed from Friday until closing last night.
Out of the restaurant for an appointment, Joynt said at 4 p.m. that she was heading back to Nathans soon.
“The mail should have arrived by the time I get back,” she says. “I’m thinking we could have reached our goal.”
Update Tuesday 11:23: Joynt says the latest count is roughly $26,000. Also, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer sent this lien notice for a $20,812 payment, dated in late January of this year. Joynt says that she’s recently met with Deputy CFO Stephen Cordi, who said the latest number with added fees is $22,000.
Image from Nathans website