Taco Tico near 13th and Tyler to reopen

WICHITA — A new Taco Tico is going to open in a former Taco Tico site just south of 13th and Tyler.

Owner Greg White says some former Taco Tico franchisees in other cities “got a hold of me and said, ‘Greg, we don’t want to lose Taco Tico in the Wichita area.’”

Last year, the state seized the assets of Ajax International Group, which had 10 Taco Tico restaurants in the greater Wichita are. The company declared bankruptcy with the intent to reopen some of the restaurants, but it didn’t work out in the end.

“It’s all kind of complicated since what happened last year,” White says. “I don’t know how to explain it all to you. It’s kind of weird the way everything’s happening.”

The bottom line for him is on Wednesday he’s reopening the first of what he hopes will be five Taco Ticos by the end of the year.

“If it all goes good, yeah,” White says. “That’s probably being a little anxious. You gotta shoot high, I guess.”

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Ajax International Group files Chapter 11; Some Taco Tico restaurants to reopen

WICHITA — Ajax International Group filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 8, which should allow a number of Taco Ticos to reopen around Wichita and possibly in a few other areas.

The state seized the assets of Ajax, which owns Taco Tico, and closed 10 of the restaurants in Wichita, Derby, Dodge City, Arkansas City and Topeka on Monday for failure to pay almost $435,000 in taxes.

“We have been in discussion with the Department of Revenue, and we have reached an agreement that will allow for (the Taco Ticos) to reopen,” says Bill Zimmerman, who is owner Mohmood Karim’s attorney.

Zimmerman says Karim may be back in the buildings as early as today.

“Physically, how soon the stores can be up and running, I don’t know,” he says.

Zimmerman says part of the company’s problem in getting behind on taxes and other bills was underperforming stores.

“They had some stores that simply weren’t making money,” he says. “Not all the stores will reopen, I know that. … But I don’t know which ones specifically yet.”

Zimmerman says the company owes some suppliers money as well but that taxes are the main issue for Ajax and Karim.

“They’re hopeful that they can make money with the stores that stay open … and pay the debts under the reorganization.”

State closes 10 Taco Ticos; owner may declare Chapter 11 to try to reopen

UPDATED — At 10 a.m. March 4, the state seized the assets of Ajax International Group, which owns Taco Tico, and closed 10 of the restaurants.

“This is for nonpayment of retail state sales tax,” says Jeannine Koranda, spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue. “With that, they seized multiple sites.”

Koranda says there are two warrants against the company.

One, for June through September of 2011, is for $73,315.94. The other, for October 2011 through October 2012, is for $361,623.29.

Owner Mohmood Karim referred calls to his attorney, Bill Zimmerman. Zimmerman says the two most likely options for Karim are to either get on a payment plan or declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“We will do our best to try to get them reopened tomorrow,” Zimmerman says. “Chapter 11 is probably the most straightforward way.”

The seizure included six Wichita Taco Ticos, one in Derby, one in Arkansas City, one in Dodge City and one in Topeka.

“This is the last in a long series of steps that are taken,” Koranda says of the state shutting down a business.

“We always work with the businesses in question,” she says. “If they can go onto a payment plan or work out an arrangement, they will be allowed to reopen.”

Zimmerman says he’s not sure why Karim wasn’t already on a payment plan.

“I know there were a lot of discussions,” he says. “Obviously, the taxes are serious and need to be dealt with.”

The Augusta, Newton and El Dorado Taco Ticos are not corporate restaurants and are still open.

Zimmerman isn’t sure how quickly Karim’s restaurants will be able to reopen.

“We’re certainly going to try to expedite it,” he says. “If they’re out of business, it becomes very difficult to pay the taxes, obviously.”