Thanks to an apparently accommodating landlord, Clear Lakes Cafe is back open. The state seized and closed Paul Fleming's restaurant on 21st Street just west of Amidon on Thursday afternoon for nonpayment of more than $28,000 in taxes.
Fleming's landlord stepped in to pay those taxes Friday.
"That's right," Fleming says. "That's what happened."
It's not clear if the landlord paid simply to keep a restaurant at his development or if it's because he has equipment in the building that the state would have sold at public auction to cover the taxes.
"I have no idea," Fleming says.
He says the 2-year-old restaurant had a tough winter.
"I mean a bad winter," Fleming says. He says that's what led to him getting behind on taxes.
In an e-mailed statement, Kansas Department of Revenue spokeswoman Freda Warfield said: "Only after several unsuccessful attempts does the Department take this type of aggressive warrant execution action of seizing assets, which in this instance resulted in the business being closed."
Fleming says it was just "a little misunderstanding with the state."
He says he changed residences and that could have led to missed letters.
"I called them, and they said I didn't, and blah, blah, blah," Fleming says.
"I tried to call them several times, and they never answered," he says. "I don't really know what happened on that end."
In a follow-up phone interview when asked to respond to Fleming's comments, Warfield said she can't talk about a specific taxpayer, but she did offer several general thoughts.
"The Department of Revenue never wants to put anybody out of business," she said. "We don't want to do that."
Warfield said the standard practice with businesses behind in taxes is to "communicate with them as much as possible" and work out a repayment plan.
"But sometimes the state is left with no choice but to protect the money of Kansans," Warfield said,"... and sometimes they have to go to the extreme of closing down a business."
Clifton Square, which is at 3700 E. Douglas, has some new tenants and may be getting a few more soon.
Lisa Rose is opening Hair X-perteez in early May.
Rose formerly owned Hair Expert but sold it four years ago to stay home with her youngest daughter.
She's still been cutting hair from her house, but now she'll be back in business full time.
Rose likes that Clifton Square is in College Hill.
"It's very quaint."
Avance Medical Aesthetic Solutions has moved its west-side office to Clifton Square, where its sign now reads Med Spa .
The medical spa offers a range of skin care services.
Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas says the development is "becoming quite the medical area" with massage services, therapists and a psychologist.
"We'd like to expand on that," Zakas says.
Safe Haven Therapy recently opened at Clifton Square, and Zakas says a couple of new psychologists may locate there as well.
Finally, Zakas says it looks like there are a couple interested parties for the Bay Leaf Cafe space. They're working on financing.
We'll keep you posted.
You don't say
"I would strongly suggest you don't call till after River Festival . It's not a good time."
—Wichita Festivals CEO Janet Wright , referring to signing up volunteers for Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair , which she announced Thursday