AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Texas Comptroller's Office seized the property and changed the locks of five downtown nightclubs owned by the Yassine brothers because of $2 million in unpaid taxes.
Most of that owed money is from sales tax and mixed beverage tax.
A warning sign was posted on the windows of Roial at 1711 San Jacinto Blvd., and workers were seen inside the club Tuesday afternoon -- which has been shuttered since local, state and federal authorities arrested the owners and others last month on charges related to drugs and money laundering.
"The Comptroller of Public Accounts has seized this property for nonpayment of taxes, penalty or interest due to the State of Texas," the sign said. "It is against the law to enter, dismantle, take possession of or remove anything from this property."
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Nearly a dozen people wearing badges -- some of whom wore sidearms -- were inside the building looking at the inventory. One computer was carried out of the building and toward a parked vehicle.
"What we do from our tax collection end, we go in, change the locks, see how many assets there are that can be sold, and the money that comes from those sales will be used to pay off the taxes they owe," explained RJ DeSilva of the Comptroller's Office.
On March 22, authorities raided four downtown nightclubs and arrested at least 10 people on federal charges -- including firearms, money laundering and drug trafficking that allegedly dates back to December 2007.
Hussein Ali Yassine, his two brothers and an executive assistant, all of whom work for him, were in the group arrested in connection to the FBI raid on several Sixth Streets bars between Neches and Trinity streets.
Those arrested included Hussein Ali "Mike" Yassine, Mohammed Ali "Steve" Yassine and Hadi Ali Yassine--the three men are brothers. Other Yassine-owned downtown clubs that were raided include:Treasure Island Bar, Kiss & Fly, Pure and Fuel.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks declined to set a bail for Steve Yassine April 10. Sparks said he was concerned Steve had the means to flee the country.
"This guy lived like a king," Sparks said during the hearing. "He lives in a great neighborhood. I live in the same neighborhood, so I should know."
Two defendants from the raid, Edgar Orsini and Nizar Hakiki , were also denied bail at the same hearing.
It was the third time bail has been denied for Yassine. But, Sparks said he would eventually allow Yassine to be freed if his lawyer can demonstrate that he lacks the assets needed to slip away from authorities.
Yassine also faces more serious charges of cocaine distribution and transferring a firearm to be used in a crime. Hadi Ali Yassine , the third Yassine brother, is also a money-laundering suspect, but the judge granted him a $25,000 bond.
Mike Yassine is also a "person of interest" in the unsolved homicide of his former business partner – Paresh Patel. Federal agents also told KXAN the Yassines have ties to the militant group Hezbollah and the Texas Syndicate prison gang,
Investigators said in court last week that Mike Yassine told an informant he wanted to launder between $200,000 and $1 million in drug money through his clubs. They said evidence also includes videos of Steve Yassine and the informant setting up drug deals and gun purchases.
Authorities said Steve Yassine has not filed a tax return in four years, though his attorney has said he was led on by the informant.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police confirm they have located an 82-year-old women who went missing last night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.