Janesville Ground Round closes doors

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

— One of Janesville's oldest chain restaurants closed Tuesday, leaving 38 full- and part-time workers without their jobs.

Ground Round manager Tom Widner said the restaurant has lost its state seller's permit, and he believes that's because the owner had not paid sales taxes owed to the state.

The owner, Jamal "Jim" Kharbush, owns another Ground Round in Dubuque, Iowa, which closed in April after the property owner served an eviction notice, according to the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

Unpaid rent, franchise fees and other bills amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars were the issue at both restaurants, the newspaper said, citing legal documents.

Widner has worked at the Janesville restaurant at 2753 Milton Ave. since 1984, the year after it opened. He said Tuesday he was trying to make sure employees got their paychecks and vendors were paid.

Widner said he contacted GE Capital, an investment company that owns the property, and tried to work out a deal to continue operations, but was unsuccessful.

"The property is in such a great location, so I think it's possible somebody could come in and take it over, but I don't know who or when," Widner said.

The Ground Round closed in February 2004 but then reopened five months later under different owners.

Rock County Treasurer Vicki Brown said the restaurant's property taxes are current.

The Dubuque restaurant reportedly had health department issues, but the Janesville restaurant has not had any serious infractions in recent years, said Tim Banwell of the Rock County Health Department.

Last updated: 10:36 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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