The Independent in Uptown has racked up a massive tab with the Minnesota Department of Revenue that it will need to pay off before it can reopen for business: over $90,000 in unpaid taxes.
The giant bill is just the latest problem facing the troubled Uptown bar.
The Independent was barred from purchasing alcohol last November after it was listed in the Department of Revenue's monthly Liquor Posting--a list of tax delinquents who alcohol wholesalers, manufacturers, and brewers are forbidden from selling booze to.
Despite being listed, the bar continued business as usual until June, when it shut down as its license expired. City Pages asked how the Independent could stay open without the ability to purchase alcohol, and now we have an answer: They bought it illegally.[jump]
Grant Wilson, manager of licenses and consumer services with the Minneapolis Regulatory Services Department, tells City Pages that the Independent was twice fined for buying alcohol after it was listed on the Liquor Posting.
The first fine was issued to the Independent February 24, for having purchased Michelob products, and the second came down May 22, for purchasing Bud Selects. Bars on the liquor posting are allowed to sell whatever booze they have stockpiled but are not allowed to purchase more. The Department of Public Safety sends inspectors to bars on the posting list to check their alcohol supply's "born on" date.
The fines amounted to $200 for the first offense and $400 for the second, which the bar owners paid off. But the bar also owes the Department of Revenue $90,000 in back taxes, which will likely be much harder to pay off.
Department of Revenue agents filed two liens against Urban Entrepreneurs, LLC, the parent company of the Independent, this spring: one with the Secretary of State on May 4, for $61,788.57, and another with Hennepin County on May 5, for $29,755.87.
The Independent will not be able to renew its license without a tax clearance certificate from the Department of Revenue, according to Wilson. So it'll be awhile before the bar can reopen.
General manager James Nelson did not respond to numerous requests for comment.
Previous coverage: Government shutdown forces closure of The Independent in Uptown