Two Aspen restaurants seized by state revenue dept. |

Two Aspen restaurants seized by state revenue dept.

ASPEN, Colorado ” Citing nonpayment of taxes, the Colorado Department of Revenue on Monday shuttered two restaurants at Aspen Highlands Village.

Graham Frandson, the owner of both ZG Grill and Crust Restaurant, said he hopes to have the matter resolved by the end of the week.

“There’s a disconnect on our sales taxes for February,” he said. “It’s a miscommunication between our bill paying [department] and the Colorado Department of Revenue.”

He added: “It’s embarrassing. It will be fixed by the end of the week.”

Typically when the state seizes a business for nonpayment of taxes, the business cannot reopen until it satisfies its debt. If the debt is not paid, the state puts up the business’ inventory at a public auction. In the meantime, both restaurants can only be accessed by the state.

Frandson said he was out of town when the seizure took place.

“Obviously this is a transition period between the ski season and the offseason,” he said.

ZG Grill is considered the main spot for apres ski at Aspen Highlands, while Crust has an emphasis on pizza.

A spokesman for the revenue department could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon. A state notice, slapped on the front doors of both Crust and ZG Grill, noted that the eateries were being seized for their nonpayment of salary and wage withholding taxes.

The city of Aspen also claims it’s owed money.

Larry Thoreson, who handles sales tax collections for the city, said the two restaurants are $7,400 in arrears in sales tax payments to City Hall.

Thoreson said his understanding was that ZG Grill and Crust owe the state “in the neighborhood” of $20,000. That figure could not be confirmed.

Thoreson said he called the state revenue department last week to report the city’s failed attempts to collect from the two restaurants.

“Basically why I called is that once I have problems with accounts, then I call the state,” Thoreson said.

Thoreson said his suspicions about ZG Grill arose in February, when its sales tax check to the city bounced.

“Especially with the snow and business we’ve had this year, that’s not a good sign,” he said.

While ZG Grill and Crust Restaurant have their apparent problems with the city and state, their landlord said they are in good standing.

“They’re currently not in default on their rent,” said Jordan Sarick, who owns Aspen Highlands Village.

Records also show that ZG Grill has a delinquent status with the Colorado Secretary of State for failing to file its annual report. ZG Holdings, the parent company of Crust Restaurant, also has not filed its annual report, according to the state secretary’s office.

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