Larimer County tax officials forced the early shut down of
Linden’s Brewing Co. Wednesday morning when the bar and eatery
failed to pay property taxes.
Linden’s was scheduled to remain open until Saturday night with
drink and cover specials throughout the week to mark the closing of
the Old Town business at 214 S. Linden, but was cut short when
Larimer County Treasurer officials served the bar with a warrant
and ordered them to shut down.
“We don’t like to do it, but if there is a chance the equipment
won’t be there, we move in,” said Gary Stoker, senior accountant of
the Larimer County Treasurer’s Office.
Stoker said when the treasurer’s office read a local article
about the brewery closing they felt the business was in “jeopardy”
and under Colorado statute, Stoker said they moved in and locked up
the premises to protect the assets of Lindens since there were
unpaid taxes from 2002.
“What happened with the taxes was kind of stupid,” said Alan
Witty, one of Linden’s three business partners.
Admitting that it was his company’s fault for not paying their
taxes, Witty said they would have just payed off the debt if they
were notified in a timely fashion.
Witty explained that his business was running into financial
problems after 9/11 and the war with Iraq. The development along
the Harmony Road corridor and job losses in Colorado also affected
Business was starting to slow, so Witty turned to a “top legal
firm” in Denver to help restructure debt payments. With the
counsel’s help, Witty said all creditors agreed to some type of
restructuring except their landlord, Tommy Short.
“It’s impossible to run a business without revenue,” Witty
After going back and forth with Short’s attorney, Richard Gast,
no agreement was made in saving Linden’s. This news late last week
prompted owners to announce their closure on Tuesday.
“I’m not sure what is going on in Mr. Short’s mind,” Witty said.
“It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances that could have been
Neither Short nor Gast was able to be reached.
Claudia Chesneau, a business partner, said in a press release
that the economy since 9/11 had been tough on her business and the
businesses surrounding her.
“We’ve had a great brewpub and great people working for us, but
there is no way we can stay in business without the support of all
our major creditors,” Chesneau said.
Forty employees lost their jobs as a result of the closing.
“My first priority in a business situation are the people who
work for me,” Witty said, who added it was tough to let go to all
of his employees.
Witty said he has about a quarter-million dollars in cash for a
“white knight” to come and “take care of this.”
According to Witty, the brewery has been in Fort Collins for 22
years under different ownerships. Witty and his business partners
have owned the pub for two years to the week.
“This is a nice town. If people don’t wake up it will turn into
Sacramento,” Witty said.