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Roula's owners face bad check charges in two states

Hatzikostosoulos Hatzikostosoulos

Roula's Country Kitchen closed abruptly last week after its owners were charged with felony bad checks.

The landlord and suppliers lost at least $28,412, court records show, and one of the owners was charged in a felony fugitive warrant for bad checks from Kingsport, Tenn., where he also ran a restaurant that left employees without paychecks.
Sotiria Alexopoulou Zaganas, 41, was charged with writing worthless checks for $5,000 on Sept. 1 and $6,540 on Sept. 13 to the landlord, Mary Harrison, of Jacksonville, Fla. Arrest warrants list a Charlotte address for Zaganas, who opened the restaurant in August and served three meals a day in a buffet style dining room.
"All I can say is the rent checks they wrote me were worthless and I turned it over to the Hendersonville Police," Harrison told the Hendersonville Lightning in a phone call while she was driving to Hendersonville to check on the Spartanburg Highway property.
Co-owner Ilias Harry Hatzikostosoulos, 58, was charged with writing three worthless checks in August for a total of $16,872 to Performance Food Service IFH of Hickory.
"There's quite a few people that got burnt by that guy," said David McDowell, who filed the worthless check charges for the company.
Hendersonville police also charged Hatzikostosoulos on a fugitive warrant from Kingsport, Tenn., where he was wanted on felony bad check charges arising from another restaurant venture that opened, ran up debt quickly and closed suddenly. Court records show Hatzikostosoulos lists five aliases, including Louie Hodges and Louis Henri Hodges. An East Tennessee news website reported in September 2009 that Hatzikostosoulos had opened a restaurant called the Mayflower Express in July of that year, plunged into debt and had stopped paying employees and owed food suppliers money.
Hatzikostosoulos, who was arrested on Oct. 9, remains in jail. A message from Kingsport detectives says that the Tennessee agency plans to extradite the restaurant operator to face trial there.
Hendersonville police arrested Zaganas on the two felony worthless check charges on Oct. 10. She was released the following morning on a $4,000 bond.
The restaurant operators posted a sign on the door saying that "due to construction we were forced to temporarily close." There was no construction.
"The restaurant is closed, I can tell you that," Harrison said. "It's an awful situation. That building has been empty a long time and I was hoping this was going to be the restaurant that made it."
Built in 1986 as a Quincy's Steakhouse, the building at 807 Spartanburg Highway has more recently operated as a Mexican restaurant and Chinese restaurant. The 8,380-square-foot structure and 1.23-acre property is valued for tax purposes at $1,086,000.