Douglas bar owner convicted of dodging city sales tax payments

Patrick M. Peterson

The owner of a Douglas bar on Friday morning changed his plea on charges that he pocketed sales tax proceeds meant for the City and Borough of Juneau.

Patrick M. Peterson, 55, entered guilty pleas to four charges of failing to file sales tax returns and four charges of failing to remit sales taxes. Eight other identical charges, filed in March, were dismissed as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

The remaining charges cover sales taxes that were supposedly collected from patrons at P P’s Douglas Inn from late 2009 to late 2010, but they were never remitted to the CBJ as required.

Douglas Inn

P P’s Douglas Inn at 3rd and D Streets in Douglas. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO

Peterson will likely be sentenced to 720-days in prison with 640-days suspended. That’s 80-days to serve in prison, but he could be out in only 53-days with credit for good time.

His attorney John Leque suggested possibly breaking up the prison sentence in segments so that his client could attend to his business. City prosecutor August Petropolis did not appear receptive to that proposal and said in court that he’ll reserve his arguments for the sentencing hearing.

A $1,000 fine will likely be suspended. But Peterson may be required to pay $45,095.67 in restitution which also includes penalties and interest. He’ll have seven years to pay it all back at $609.32 each month.

Peterson appeared in Juneau District Court on Friday wearing a black hoodie with “Take your pants off. Let’s have a party” printed on the back. Aside from entering guilty pleas and answering routine questions, Peterson did not say anything and he kept a somber expression for most of the hearing. That changed with a sudden partial grin as he got up and turned to leave the courtroom.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 21st.

Petropolis, Leque, Levy, Peterson

City prosecutor August Petropolis, defense attorney John Leque, District Court Judge Keith Levy, and defendant Patrick M. Peterson await the start of a change of plea hearing Oct. 5, 2012. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO