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Lodge ordered to hand over liquor license

August 31, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

FUNKSTOWN - Funkstown Moose Lodge 2435 has been ordered to hand over its liquor license until nearly $11,000 in back state taxes are paid, a spokesman for the Maryland State Comptroller's Office said Tuesday.

Spokesman Kevin Kane said that if the lodge enters into a payment plan with the comptroller's office it will be allowed to operate using its liquor license.

"We expect the matter to be closed by October," Kane said. "Their liquor license will be revoked until they enter into an agreement."

An attorney for the comptroller filed a writ Monday in Washington County Circuit Court ordering that the Sheriff's Department seize the club's liquor license and seize "all cash and monies found and located on the premises" of the club, according to the writ.

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The writ had not been served at the lodge at 132 Old National Pike by deputies as of Wednesday afternoon, Kane said.

Kane said the lodge has not paid taxes from May 2005 through March 2006.

The lodge owes $4,749.75 in sales and use taxes not paid from May to October 2005 and $6,197.41 in withholding taxes not paid from August 2005 to March 2006, Kane said.

When reached by phone Tuesday morning, lodge administrator Mike Stumbaugh said, "That's an older thing. That matter has been resolved."

He said that the issue "goes back to 1999 to 2003."

Kane said the comptroller's office was contacted Tuesday by a representative of the lodge who said the lodge would like to enter a payment plan to pay back the taxes. Kane said the representative said the lodge is selling its building and expects to have money from that sale by October.

Calls made to the lodge Tuesday afternoon were not answered. Attempts to reach Stumbaugh on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Kane said the lodge has been listed as delinquent in state taxes since 2004. The lodge filed its returns for 2004 but did not pay its taxes until it renewed its liquor license for 2005, he said.

Ordering that the lodge's liquor license be stripped is "one of the last measures in the process of trying to get the business into compliance," Kane said.

He said that the comptroller's office has been trying to get the lodge in compliance since June 23.

The Moose building, which opened in 2000, is for sale for $1.7 million. Officials said the lodge will move into a smaller building when the current building is sold, according to published reports.

The lodge bought the five acres on which the building sits from Larry Artz in 1997 for $60,120, according to state property record.

Stumbaugh said a combination of financial problems, higher costs and lagging interest among members is causing the lodge to scale down.

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