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How Adams' pals — and a favorite dining spot — link him to one of the state's top tax delinquents

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NEW YORK — A restaurateur with deep ties to two of Mayor Eric Adams’ close friends — and a connection to one of his favorite midtown haunts — is among the state’s top tax delinquents with an outstanding tab of more than $1 million.

An extensive review of previous reports and public records has found a network of restaurants — including the haute Osteria La Baia, where the mayor can often be found holding court — owned by either tax-tardy Brooklyn attorney Akiva Ofshtein or a New York restaurateur named Marianna Shahmuradyan. Tying them together are twin brothers Robert and Zhan “Johnny” Petrosyants — two of the mayor’s close pals.

Ofshtein has hired the Petrosyants brothers to manage eateries that ran up significant tax debt. And Shahmuradyan, who owns La Baia, is romantically linked with Robert Petrosyants.

The connections demonstrate the mayor’s enduring friendship with the brothers, who ran afoul of federal law a decade ago and have since been involved in culinary ventures that deprived the government of tax revenue.

Adams has come under criticism for other relationships with people having past transgressions — he angered LGBTQ people after appointing a former lawmaker with a history of anti-gay positions to a high-paying City Hall gig. His team made an overture earlier this year that would have helped a longtime friend who was expelled from the state Senate. And he named a deputy mayor for public safety who was an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case.

Superlative scofflaw

Each month, the state Department of Taxation and Finance releases a list of the top 250 recent tax delinquents. In July, Ofshtein came in at No. 78, climbing 23 spots since April.

Ofshtein owes $1.3 million in unpaid employee withholding and sales taxes stemming from Brooklyn restaurants that, at one point, overlapped with the political realm.

In 2019, a popular Park Slope brunch spot called Woodland became a flashpoint between several politicians who complained it was too rowdy, and Adams, who called critics racist because the restaurant’s clientele was largely Black.

Back then, Brooklyn lawyer Frank Carone — who would go on to become Adams’ chief of staff in City Hall — represented the restaurant in a related dispute with the State Liquor Authority.

At the time, Ofshtein and the brunch spot had already accrued nearly $400,000 in unpaid state taxes, according to the finance department’s July list (the restaurant had also filed for bankruptcy in 2015).

In the years since, Ofshtein roughly doubled that outstanding tab, even as the restaurant........

© Politico

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