City seizes Cruise Control assets
The city of Rifle on Tuesday seized personal assets associated with a local business that repeatedly failed to remit sales tax to the city.
Judge Victor Zerbi awarded the city a warrant to seize the personal assets of Cruise Control Auto & Truck Accessories Inc. on Feb. 12, according to a press release.
Law enforcement served that warrant and seized the property around 8 a.m. Tuesday, effectively closing the business, which appeared to be operating up until then, Rifle Police Chief John Dyer said Wednesday morning.
Under Rifle’s municipal code, the city has up to 60 days to sell the property at a public auction, which will be noticed in the near future. According to the release, Cruise Control does not own the buildings, preventing them from being subject to the seizure.
While the buildings are not owned by Cruise Control, essentially all of the equipment, such as lifts, is owned by the business, City Manager Matt Sturgeon said.
Sturgeon added that during his time with the city, he could not recall a similar instance that led to the city directly seizing a business’ assets.
That newest developments come more than a month after Zerbi ordered a warrant for the business owner, Kyra Fief.
Fief was supposed to appear in Rifle Municipal Court Jan. 6 after the city asked that the remainder of a one-year jail sentence be reinstated.
The business owner pleaded no contest in August 2015 to charges that she violated Rifle’s municipal code by failing to turn over financial documents for an audit. Through the legal process, an audit was eventually conducted and Fief agreed to pay $104,888 in restitution for unremitted sales tax and legal fees, according to court documents.
After agreeing to make monthly restitution payments of $4,649, Judge Victor Zerbi suspended 355 days of Fief’s one-year jail sentence. Fief made the first payment in September, but a check for October’s payment bounced, Kathy Pototsky, court administrator, told Zerbi in court on Jan. 6. Fief still owes $99,239 in restitution payments.
When she failed to appear in court Jan. 6, Zerbi issued a bench warrant for her arrest and set a $100,000 cash payment bond.
Two days later, her husband, Larry Fief, contacted law enforcement to report his wife was missing. A report taken by a deputy with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office stated that Larry contacted the deputy and informed him that Kyra did have a debit card that was used it in Cedar City, Utah on Jan. 8, according to a bank statement.
Larry Fief did not answer a phone call or return a message left Wednesday morning.
Sturgeon said that outside of court procedures and serving the warrant on Tuesday, the city has had no personal contact with the business, which never remitted any sales tax following the January court procedures.
The landlord has been extremely cooperative and allowed the assets to remain in the building, he added. The city intends to auction the assets in the next several weeks.
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