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Sale of business raises funds for some taxes

January 17, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

The sale of a Hagerstown councilwoman's business raised enough money to pay about two-thirds of her back taxes, but left other creditors with nothing, according to Washington County Circuit Court records.

Two years ago, Councilwoman Susan K. Saum-Wicklein closed the 100-year-old family business, Saum's Credit Jewelers and reopened the downtown Hagerstown store under the name Jeweler's Daughter.

Saum-Wicklein never filed for bankruptcy, but the assets of the original business were sold to pay off its debts.

The sale netted $30,406, court records show.

The lawyer who supervised the sale, Gary A. Rosen of Rockville, Md., will get $10,911.

After court costs, that leaves $19,169, which will be applied to the $28,621 that the business owes the county, state and federal government.

Saum-Wicklein did not owe any city taxes.

A dozen creditors will not get any of the $222,993 they claim they are owed, court records show.

Rosen's report, filed Jan. 5, must still be approved by the court.

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However, the two largest creditors have filed a separate lawsuit against Saum-Wicklein and her family.

Two New York City gem dealers allege that the family conspired to avoid paying them nearly $200,000 for inventory.

JBI Industries Inc. and Miracle Diamond Corp. claim the family defrauded them by dissolving the company and reopening under a new name, court records say.

The two companies sold jewelry on credit to Saum's Credit Jewelers from 1993 through 1996, the suit alleges.

Saum-Wicklein has denied the charges in court records.

Neither she nor her lawyer, Brett R. Wilson, could be reached for comment.

Saum's has had a presence in downtown Hagerstown since Hampton E. Saum, Saum-Wicklein's great-grandfather, established the business in 1896.

Her family bought the building on the northwest corner of Public Square, where the Jeweler's Daughter is now based.

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