Source: Provocateur Co-Owner Provokes The IRS

by BILLY GRAY · March 29, 2010

A tipster tells us Lionel "KyKy" Conille, co-owner of the deceased Merkato 55 and new-ish Provocateur illegally purchased over $300,000 worth of booze--how bootleggy!--and owes the IRS taxes on over $2 million in state wages paid in 2008. And all of it just in time for the dreaded April 15th. -

Our source alleges that while at Merkato 55--the African-themed Meatpacking District restaurant and bar known for its raucous Saturday brunches--Conille and his partners in AM Operating Group LLC:

Illegally bought between $300,000 and $600,000 worth of liquor from improper vendors after Empire and Southern Liquor distributors had cut them off from purchasing liquor thanks to past due invoices.

Misrepresented themselves and their establishment to the local community board while applying for a liquor license.

"Never paid taxes...not sales tax nor payroll taxes" for the 2008 fiscal year. Our source's documents (see below) say that AM Operating Group LLC owes $336,268.21 in back taxes to the IRS.

Wrote 156 bad checks totaling $131,019.29 between July 3rd and October 15th, 2008

Merkato 55 filed for bankruptcy on June 15th, 2009. Three months later, the team behind rival overpriced day drinking destination Bagatelle bought the place. KyKy teamed up with Stereo veteran Mike Satsky to open Provocateur in December.