BLACK SOMBRERO: Once Lismore's most popular eatery, Black Sombrero is no more after its entire contents were sold on Tuesday November 13 at an insolvency auction.
BLACK SOMBRERO: Once Lismore's most popular eatery, Black Sombrero is no more after its entire contents were sold on Tuesday November 13 at an insolvency auction. Alison Paterson

The real reason why Black Sombrero closed its doors

ONE of Lismore's most popular restaurants has gone into liquidation, a year after it mysteriously closed its doors.

Black Sombrero opened in Keen St in January 2014 and attracted big crowds for its delicious Mexican food, cocktails and friendly atmosphere.

It was named Best New Business at Lismore Business Excellence Awards in 2014 and developed a stellar reputation with locals and visitors.

Like many other CBD businesses, Black Sombrero was hit hard by the March 2017 floods.

Owner Julie Dickson bravely reopened and rallied the community, urging businesses to display flags with red hearts as a sign of "survival".

But just months later the writing was on the wall.

Ms Dickson closed the doors to her beloved restaurant in August last year, and they have never reopened.

At the time, she promised it was just a temporary measure; it was not "game over".

But it can now be revealed that the business has been involved in a court battle with the Australian Taxation Office that led to Black Sombrero being placed into liquidation.

According to documents from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation applied in July this year for the winding up of El Nuevo Imperio Pty Ltd, trading as Black Sombrero.

A liquidator was appointed to her business during a hearing in the Federal Court in August.

An ATO spokeswoman said they could not comment on the case due to "privacy provisions in Australian tax law".

On Tuesday around 100 people lined up to snag a bargain at the no-reserve, on-site auction at 136 Keen St, as the entire contents of the former Black Sombrero restaurant went under the hammer.

Aylward Auctions managed the auction of the restaurant's items under instruction from Clout & Associates, an insolvency and business recovery firm.

Owner and director of the auction house, Glenn Aylward, said everything "not nailed down was sold".

While he declined to name the total amount all the items reached, Mr Aylward said the items ranged from bar and kitchen items through to point of sale, security systems, ovens and freezers, crockery, cutlery and restaurant furniture.

"We had 200 lots go under the hammer, anything you could pick up and carry was bought," he said.

"Bidding was brisk, we had interest from all over the region and the majority of them were in the hospitality industry."

Mr Aylward said the main infrastructure was left for the sale of the real estate, if this occurred.

A representative from Clout & Associates declined to comment on the auction.

All efforts by The Northern Star to contact Ms Dickson have been unsuccessful.



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