Wally's closed for back taxes

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— The city of Steamboat Springs has closed Wally's Pizzeria, seized its property and will sell the pizzeria Thursday to satisfy almost $15,000 in back sales taxes, penalties and interest.

However, it appears the shop in Central Park Plaza may resurface soon as a pizza restaurant. Jim C. Hansen, a local Realtor representing the owner of the shopping center, PHF Realty, said he fully expects the small shop to reopen as a pizza establishment.

"We have four to five people in line who are interested in acquiring it as a turnkey operation," Hansen said.

Documents on file at the city of Steamboat Springs show sales tax auditor Carrie Hunt served a "distraint warrant" on Wally's Pizzeria principal Brian Walston on Aug. 3. The warrant indicates WHW Inc., which operated Wally's, failed to remit portions of the sales taxes it collected on behalf of the city for periods August 2000 through December 2000, and in May, June and July 2001.

The taxes owed total $10,378.36. WHW also owed $3,882.75 in penalties and $717.21 in interest, for a total of $14,978.32.

Hunt said she began working for the city in December 2000 and has been working with Wally's ever since.

"We'll always work with a taxpayer to a great extent," Hunt said. "To get to the point of actually seizing a business is a last-ditch effort on the city's part."

Hunt said she tried a variety of methods, including a payment plan to bring Wally's tax account with the city up to date.

Hansen declined to comment on whether Wally's was keeping up with its rent payments.

Walston could not be reached for comment Monday. The restaurant is closed and his home phone has been disconnected, according to a taped message.

Documents on file with the Colorado Secretary of State shows WHW Inc. was incorporated in Wisconsin in December 1996. It gives an Appleton, Wis., address for the company.

The auction is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. Thursday. Interested parties may contact Hunt at 871-8247 for information or to arrange a preview of the property.

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