State seizes Gracy’s in Aspen
ASPEN Aspen consignment store Gracy’s was seized Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Revenue.According to documents posted on the window at Gracy’s, located at 312 E. Hyman Ave., and on display at City Hall, the seizure was prompted by nonpayment of sales and wage taxes during certain periods in 2006 and 2007.Gracy’s allegedly owes the state $3,110.89. It also is some $1,200 in arrears to the city of Aspen for unpaid taxes, which will be lumped in with the money sought by the state, said Larry Thoreson of the city’s finance department.The shop’s doors are now closed and locked.If the delinquent tax bills are not paid, the business will go up for public auction at 11 a.m. Sept. 14, Thoreson said.”I would be surprised if they didn’t pay,” said Thoreson, adding that he had not filed the paperwork with the state as of late Wednesday afternoon.He said that if the owners of Gracy’s – Brad and Karen Carner – pay the state claim, the keys to the property will be turned over to the city until they also have paid the city’s claim.According to Brad Carner, the shut-down came without notice.”The only time we make money is in the winter or summer,” Carner said. “So the state shutting us down for the last two weeks of summer is killing us.””We have been negotiating on this issue for quite a while. We are obviously contesting it,” said Carner, who added that he and his wife have hired Denver attorney Ron Tucker.Gracy’s has been operating since the early 1980s, beginning at its original location in the 500 block of East Hyman Avenue. It has moved several times and had numerous owners. The Carners bought it several years ago from Dan Martineau.A second Gracy’s once opened in Glenwood Springs, but is no longer in business.The owner of the space that Gracy’s occupies, Mead Metcalf, said Wednesday that he was aware the business’s doors had been locked by the state.”They haven’t paid their rent in two months,” he said.Metcalf has not tried evicting the business and said, “He’s trying to pay me off.”Carner said he plans to be caught up with rent by next month. He said the couple had no plans to close Gracy’s, but the state unexpectedly showed up and shut it down.Carner said he and his wife would like to keep the store at its current location.In the event of a nonpayment, Carner questions how the state plans to auction off the inventory at Gracy’s because the couple does not own the building or the merchandise. It is all on consignment. And, all of the store’s business equipment is leased, he said.Carner did say the couple owns some of the business furnishings.”I’d like to know what they’re going to sell,” he said.An employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity said there has been no indication the Carners plan to give the business up, and that the owners have not told the employees to start looking for other jobs.Officials with the Department of Revenue did not return phone calls Wednesday afternoon.John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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