Developer buys bars at center of tax fraud case

Kuzzins Lounge, Drake's Pub
Left: Kuzzins Lounge on Grand Rapids’ West Side. Right: Drake’s Pub in Wyoming. (Aug. 6, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A father and son sent to federal prison for stealing cash from their Grand Rapids-area businesses have sold two of their three bars.

Grand Rapids-based Third Coast Development now owns Kuzzins Lounge on Grand Rapids’ West Side and Drake’s Pub in Wyoming. The developer says it has already started renovating the bars. Both have new lighting and stricter security.

Kuzzins Lounge
Kuzzins Lounge on Grand Rapids’ West Side. (Aug. 6, 2017)

“We really respect the history of these bars, so initially coming in we just want to bring them back to fully functional, reputable bars,” Third Coast managing partner Tony Knight told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone Sunday.

The bars were previously owned by father and son Michael and Brian Farah. The pair admitted to skimming about $408,000 from their bars over two years and failing to report the income on their taxes. The scam was discovered during an IRS audit. Michael Farah was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and Brian Farah to 13 months.

The new owner of the bars are not looking to completely remodel, but rather to polish the history.

Drake’s Pub
Drake’s Pub in Wyoming. (Aug. 6, 2017)

“We don’t want a full rebrand or … completely change what they are. We’re looking to polish the existing history of them. They were reputable a lot longer than they were irreputable,” Knight said.

The biggest change will be the addition of food menus, which Knight said can be expected within the next few months.

Third Coast says it was interested in purchasing Farah’s bar in Grand Rapids, as well — but despite being sentenced to prison time and fines, the Farah family is keeping that one and an expansion is still in the works.