Authorities seize liquor, cash from St. Paul barby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Revenue said Tuesday officials were seizing cash and liquor from Gabe's Roadhouse because the St. Paul bar owes more than $39,000 in state sales taxes.
Terri Steenblock, director of the revenue department's collections division, said Gabe's owner George Wozniak was notified several times that his bar would be placed on liquor posting if the taxes weren't paid.
Wozniak could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bars placed on liquor posting are no longer able to purchase additional alcohol. Gabe's was placed on liquor posting in February, but authorities said it appears the bar continued to purchase alcohol and sell it.
Steenblock said revenue department officials and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety were seizing cash in cash registers and safes and planned to resell any alcohol found at the bar. But officials were not closing down the bar, she said.
"At this point the bar is not closed. We'll give them an opportunity to work with us," she said. "If they're closed it's because they choose to close not because we're forcing them to close."
Alcohol distributors and wholesalers are not allowed to sell alcohol to Gabe's, and Steenblock said they could face fines and other penalties if they do.
While many businesses owe the state taxes, Steenblock said such seizures are rare.
"For us it's one of the last things that we do in order to bring somebody into compliance," she said.
The seizure is the latest financial trouble for Wozniak. In December, the Twin Cities businessman closed his travel agency, Hobbit Travel, citing financial difficulties and the recession.
Earlier this year, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Wozniak also owed money to suppliers of his Fresh French Fries stands at the Minnesota State Fair.