Oct 092003
 
Authors: James Baetke

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.

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

said.

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

worked out.”

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.

 

 

 

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