State: Gas station owner owes $520K

The Union 76 gas station on Foothill Boulevard near Briggs Avenue has sat unused for two months, the pumps turned off and wrapped in caution tape.

The listed owner and operator of the station, La Cañada Enterprises Inc., has had its incorporation status suspended by the state, according to the California secretary of state's office.

In May, La Cañada Enterprises was among the top 25 in the State Board of Equalization's “Top 500” delinquent taxpayers list, owing $520,257.

The owner of the company, Samira Shirzad, could not be reached, though a neighboring business and a spokeswoman for the firm controlling the Union 76 brand said they understand the gas station will reopen under a new owner.

Shirzad is now the president of Pacific Continental Link Inc., which is listed online as a banking systems and services company in Encino. The person answering the phone at Pacific Continental declined to comment or give her name.

Serge Vartazarian, who owns Serge's Automotive, an auto repair shop down the block from the gas station, said he has known Shirzad for two years. Vartazarian said Shirzad had told him she was transferring ownership of the station.

“She said that they are planning to reopen the station with a new owner,” Vartazarian said.

Romelia Hinojosa, a spokesperson for Phillips 66, which controls the Union 76 brand, said that she could not confirm if the station had been sold or why it was closed. She said Phillips 66 is working with the current operator to get it reopened as soon as possible, though she declined to estimate when that would be.

According to the Board of Equalization, businesses appearing on the delinquency list will be subject to new penalties starting July 1, including the loss of professional licenses. They also will be prohibited from entering into contracts with state agencies.

“When taxpayers choose to ignore their tax debts, they leave the board no alternative but to step up its enforcement efforts,” board chairman Jerome E. Horton said in a statement. “Their failure to play by the rules places an unfair burden on all Californians and robs the state of funding for critical services like education and public safety.”

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