Authorities: Bar Owner Embezzled $168,000 Intended for Charities | Off Message

Authorities: Bar Owner Embezzled $168,000 Intended for Charities


Nicholas Bermudez in 2016 - FILE: HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • File: Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Nicholas Bermudez in 2016
The former owner of Sugarhouse Bar & Grill in South Burlington has been charged with embezzling nearly $170,000 intended for two local charities.

Nicholas Bermudez, 32, allegedly diverted the money from the sale of break-open tickets — lottery-like tickets sold at some bars on behalf of nonprofits — into his own pocket, according to the state Department of Liquor Control.

The bar owner claimed to be selling the tickets on behalf of the Burlington Amateur Hockey Association and Jones Music Media and paid them a total of $6,510 over 16 months, according to the department. After an anonymous complaint, authorities learned he allegedly made $168,181 in ticket sales. State law requires that all the profits of break-open ticket sales go to charities or fraternal organizations.

Bermudez bought the establishment, then known as Franny O's, in January 2016. He then remodeled and rechristened the place Sugarhouse Bar & Grill in March of that year. The Department of Taxes shuttered the Queen City Park Road bar last June for "noncompliance of meals and room tax." It later closed, then reopened in November under new ownership as The Old Post.

The Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Bermudez with embezzlement. He’s due in court February 13.