On Friday, June 6, the Office of Tax and Revenue seized the liquor license of JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) and ordered it shut down for nonpayment of $654,077.87 in sales tax, penalties, and interest, according to OTR spokeswoman Natalie Wilson.
This morning, to hear the owners’ representative tell it, the strip club got its license back—along with a heartfelt apology from the city tax agency. “The owners owed zero. These guys have been paying taxes fine,” says Paul Kadlick, a representative for the Vice Group, which owns the club. “The revenue agent couldn’t have been more apologetic.”
Curiously, OTR’s Wilson tells a different story. As of late afternoon today, she says, the matter has not been resolved. “OTR has not released the licenses nor granted a reinstatement of any kind,” she wrote in an email after we told her about our conversation with Kadlick. “OTR is working with the new owners to bring them into compliance.”
So what gives? According to Wilson, an OTR review of the club’s account revealed that the club hadn’t paid expected sales taxes for the past six years. That’s what generated the massive tax lien. What the agency’s records apparently failed to reflect was that the club was shut down between January 2008, when a fire destroyed its original building, and June 2013, when the club reopened under new ownership. Wilson told us that OTR was unaware that the club’s ownership had changed. We wonder whether documentation of this change is what’s missing now before the club can reopen.
Kadlick told us he expected the club to be open tomorrow night.
While we had Kadlick on the phone, we asked about the long-shattered glass in the club’s mirrored doorway: Do the owners intend to fix it? Kadlick explained that someone–a Georgetown University student–has been arrested and charged with the crime of breaking the door, and that the club’s owners are awaiting the outcome of that case before repairs are made. “Someone has to make restitution” for the damage, Kadlick says. He estimated the repair cost at “several thousand dollars.”