Consignors feel sting of Gracy’s seizure
ASPEN Those who left items on consignment at Gracy’s Uptown in Aspen – which was seized Wednesday for back taxes – may be out of luck, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.According to a revenue representative, all goods inside the store now belong to the state until the issue of $3,110.89 in allegedly unpaid wage and sales taxes is resolved.Gracy’s also is allegedly 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. If the state claim is paid, the keys to the property will revert to the city until the owners also have paid the city’s claim.Both must be paid in full before Gracy’s can open its doors again. The doors have been locked since the store was seized by officials on Wednesday.The state’s announcement did not sit well with those who have items on consignment at Gracy’s.”I want my product back,” said one consignor, Sheri Henriksen, of Houston and Aspen, who said she has a “$3,000 mink and leather jacket” on consignment at Gracy’s.Steve Tool, a spokesman for the Department of Revenue, said the state believes that Henriksen’s property is no longer hers – according to the provisions of state law – and that it will be sold along with all the other merchandise at the shop to satisfy the debt. “That inventory is subject to a lien,” Tool said. “We think the statute’s very clear.”Tool added that the dispute should be between the store owners and those who consign items for sale.Henriksen said she has left items at Gracy’s in the past and never has had any trouble with the store until this.The state has scheduled a Sept. 14 sale of the property, although the store’s owners – Brad Carner and his wife, Karen – are contesting the seizure and the state’s claims concerning back taxes. The Carners could not be reached for comment late Thursday.Sam Hunter, owner of the Miser’s Mercantile consignment shop in Carbondale, said that Tool’s interpretation of Colorado law is correct as far as she knows.”I don’t really know, because I’ve never had it happen to me,” she said, adding that her consignment contracts contain no provisions for dealing with such a seizure, but absolve her of any responsibility for items that are lost or stolen. Hunter said that in the “couple of times” things have been stolen from her store in 20 years of business, she has paid the owners the value.As for the trouble at Gracy’s, Hunter said, “I’ve always thought, if the ship was going down, you get rid of the stuff as fast as you can” by returning it to the consignors.But, she added, “They may not have known it was going to happen. The state, when they come, they just come in, they take your key and they tell you to leave the store.”Henriksen plans to return to Houston this week and will monitor the situation from there.”I’ll think twice about leaving my product with a consignment store in the future,” she said. “If you’re having that much trouble, you need to do something, but you don’t put your customer’s property in peril. That’s unethical, and I can’t imagine that anyone will leave property with them again.”John Colson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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