Earlier today, business partners Gillian Clark and Robin Smith dropped this bomb on the General Store’s Facebook page:
“It’s with heavy hearts we’re announcing that The General Store is closed. For the entire 4+ years we’ve been involved with this building we have been bullied by the landlords. The landlord has not paid his back taxes and the county is taking back the building. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being more than just customers. We consider all of you friends.”
As complicated as that tale sounds, the real one has even more twists. Montgomery County confirmed this afternoon that the owner of the property at 6 Post Office Road (the address of the General Store in Silver Spring), had been delinquent on its 2009 taxes. The owner, 6 Post Office LLC, owed the county $4,788.73 from that year, which the company didn’t pay by the Sept. 30, 2009, deadline. Then on June 14 of last year, the county sold the tax lien to a “certificate holder” for $5,557.05.
A certificate holder is essentially like a real-estate flipper, an individual or company that buys liens and sells them back to the property owner at a markup. To be square with the county, 6 Post Office LLC must now pay its certificate holder $6,418, as well as the back taxes for 2010, which total $5,005.52.
The certificate holder of the 2009 lien has the option of pushing 6 Post Office LLC into foreclosure proceedings to get its money. But, according to Montgomery County spokeswoman Donna Bigler, “the property has not gone to foreclosure.”
The strange thing here is that, depending on the lease, the property owner’s tax problems shouldn’t affect the business that leases the space, the General Store in this case. So what’s going on? Clark e-mailed this afternoon to shed more light on the situation:
Read the rest over at the Going Out Gurus blog.