Government & Politics

City Hall jacks luxury car to settle tax debt owed by French Quarter bar owner

The 2002 Bentley that was repossessed

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

[Update, 20:30:]

According to petition documents obtained by The Lens, these are the names of the bars, business, and owners that were named in the suit for alleged non-payment of taxes, that led to the seizure of The Bentley: Newport Corporation of Louisiana, Millionaire Boy’s Club, Inc., Rue Bourbon Entertainment, L.L.C., Iberville Management Group, Inc., Bourbon Saloon, Inc., Conti Management Group, Inc., Milliardaire Investment Club, L.L.C., Four-26 Bourbon, L.L.C., Two-37 Bourbon Street, Inc., To Go On Bourbon Street, L.L.C., Dante’s of Decatur, Inc., D/B/A Old Absinthe House, Mango-Mango, Jazz Emporium, Yousef Salem, Samer Aladwan, Hilwa Aladwan, & Carolyn Pierce.

Daniel Rester, listed in the documents as the attorney for the debtors, did not immediately return a call seeking comment this evening.

[Original Post, 15:30:]

Legislator-turned-lieutenant governor-turned Mayor Mitch Landrieu has a new calling: Repo Man.

At today’s meeting of the City Council’s Budget Committee, Landrieu’s Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin cited a seized luxury car as proof of hizzoner’s zeal to crack down on sales and property tax scofflaws.

Seems the city had initiated a lawsuit against an unnamed French Quarter bar owner who owed over $400,000 in sales taxes. When the tax laggard missed an installment on his repayment plan, the city swooped in and seized the Bentley Azure that had been put up as collateral.

The city plans to auction the car, which carried a $350,000 sticker price when new, in 2002.  A legendary brand, once owned by Rolls Royce and now by Volkswagen, Bentley zoomed into pop culture’s vehicular Valhalla as fictional spy James Bond’s speedster of choice.

While Councilwoman Stacy Head was glad to hear that the car had been seized, she wanted to know if the business owner was still operating and if the city could have someone “sit at the cash register” to monitor sales.

Kopplin hastened to point out that the city will proceed cautiously in that respect, not wanting to cut off the very revenue stream that would allow the scofflaw to pay his considerable debts to the public.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use for Squandered Heritage. For her work with television reporter Lee Zurik exposing widespread misuse of city recovery funds — which led to guilty pleas in federal court — Gadbois won some of the highest honors in journalism, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • jeffrey

    “unnamed French Quarter bar owner”

    Wait a minute. What are we paying this free-for-nothing investigative journalism outfit for? Let’s get the guy’s name.

  • Karen Gadbois

    Still trying to get the name.

  • Umm, Bond drove an Aston Martin, not a Bently.

  • Karen Gadbois

    He drove many cars, A man after your own heart

  • Jan Cervini

    Now that’s the way to do it! Seperate the “un-named” bar owner from his prize possession! Finding out a name will be easy, he’ll be the one wanting to sue the city for “stealing” his car!

  • Matt Davis

    @Clay: Bond drove an Aston Martin and as Karen said, various other cars including a Saab, in the movies. In the Ian Fleming novels, however, he drove a 1933 Bentley. From Wikipedia:

    “The car featured a 4.5 L engine with the Amherst Villiers supercharger. In the novels, no gadgets were installed as this was Bond’s personal vehicle that in Casino Royale is mentioned as being a hobby that Bond enjoys working on.”

    I can’t recommend reading Casino Royale highly enough, incidentally. It’s such a wonderfully dark and repugnant novel, and Bond is so horrid. When the chief love interest commits suicide at the end, he says: “the bitch is dead.” That’s it. Not exactly Roger Moore. But I really wish they’d make a “reboot” movie for the Bond franchise, based faithfully on the book instead of simply a vehicle for Daniel Craig to wear blue Lycra. It really captures the sacrifice and psychosis required of a genuine spy…more Le Carre-like.

  • rickngentilly

    sounds like jobert, owner of absinthe house , absinthe bar, and the mang mango joints.

  • Sobieski

    The owners for all of the above – ALL of the above – are:

    SAMER ALADWAN (or Al Adwan)
    HILWA ALADWAN (or Al Adwan)
    Address 1: 9 ROSEDOWN
    City, State, Zip: NEW ORLEANS, LA 70130


    The attorney for all of them is Agent: DANIEL K. RESTER, ESQ., Adams & Reese Baton Rouge.

    Except for 237 Bourbon & To GO On Bourbon which are run by: YOUSEF W. SALEM and LEON J. TOUZET, III

    Carolyn Pierece is with an underwriting group from NYC & California.

    Gee, you’d hink there’d be a story there.

  • Sobieski
  • Kenan

    This man you guys are trying to know about is my uncle and the story you wrote is bullshit, the real story is he had a person working under him to manage his taxes and as you can see she did a really bad job and now he is working his ass off to pay his debt to the government you might be wondering why doesnt he pay the 400 gran from his fortune its because he spent it all to repair the damages that the hurricane caused to his restaurants and bars too keep you assholes pleased and drunk but thanks to god he payed his debt and is back to collecting millions

  • Kenan

    Btw its yousef al adwan who owns all these places samer is his brother and manager of all these places hilwa is there mother how do i know its because theyre my uncles and hilwa is my grandma

  • Kenan

    Yup thats him

  • nickelndime

    NEW ORLEANS CITY HALL – NEW JACK CITY AND LET’S “JACK” THE BENTLEY: Why am I not surprised that the politically-connected Adams and Reese LLP is involved?!? Now, that’s where a lot of this guy’s money is going.