‘Den mörke härskaren’
courtesy of ‘awtyeah’
We’ve covered this ground before: DC makes it pretty easy to import alcoholic beverages legally. Tom (with my help) looked at how the law applies to individuals, and now the City Paper’s Young & Hungry blog has covered the commercial side of things. The short version of the rules as they apply to business: pay a reasonable fee, register the purchase, pay the taxes, and you’re good to go. The question is, with rules that lax, why would anybody break them?
How did this come to be? I’ve long suspected that the rules were first engineered by congressmen who wanted to be able to support the distillers, brewers, and vintners in their jurisdictions (although they’re not known for having much trouble breaking their own rules). I think since then the incentives have become all too clear. DC is a small enough market that distributors don’t have enough economy of scale to operate profitably, and the perpetually short-staffed DC government would rather make it easy to comply and pay taxes, instead of having to fund enforcement. Their budget constraints are our gain. Prosit!
courtesy of ‘Skelekitten’
Nick Cho, famous for his work as a barista and coffee-shop owner, today surrendered himself to arrest and booking on 82 counts of tax fraud related to the tax debt that shuttered Capitol Hill’s Murky Coffee in 2008. According to the release from the OCFO, posted in full below the cut, he’s facing 180 days in jail for each count, if convicted, along with a $5k fine, and full restitution if convicted. That would be $410,000 in fines, plus restitution for the amounts not filed with the District in 2006 and 2007, as well as 41 years in jail.
The amount specified by the OCFO for delinquent taxes is over $100,000, which would be compounded with penalties, interest and additional fines.
Chinatown Coffee Company, where Cho currently consults on the coffee operation, did not have a comment this afternoon when reached by telephone. Cho was released this afternoon following the booking. City Paper’s Jason Cherkis has a bit of the backstory here as well. Cherkis has now also spoken with the owners at Chinatown Coffee.
‘Tea Party in DC’ (courtesy ‘skye820’)
In addition to Tax Day, today is the official Fox News/Freedom Works “Tea Party” Day, when thousands, nay, millions of outraged conservatives who do not know what teabagging really means will descend on DC to protest taxes, because a Keynesian stimulus package and a ~3% increase in the marginal tax rate for the super-rich marks the end of the Republic as we know it. Updates and pics after the jump: Continue reading
‘Vaseline Everybody’s friend’
courtesy of ‘Sarah G…’
The question that keeps coming up about the Murky closure and Nick Cho’s new shop in D.C. seems to be “why won’t the new place be named Murky?”
Murky Coffee is a registred trademark, and given the tax difficulties that Nick has had with D.C. and lately with Virginia, it’s possible – or perhaps likely – that Nick won’t have the rights to use that name anymore if things go badly for Murky Coffee, LLC. That’s the legal entity that the USPTO lists as the trademark owner.
Pay your taxes, kids. (Unless you’re angling for a cabinet position, of course)
This morning’s letter on the Murky Coffee website is no April Fools’ Joke. Replacing Murky in the space they’ll leave behind in Clarendon will become a venture of the group that owns Liberty Tavern, with a new space, and a new concept. While details are still sketchy, from what I understand, the upstairs at the new coffee location will be a co-working space, something like Beehive Baltimore or Indy Hall in Philadelphia.
The staff of Murky, owner Nick Cho included, are coming back into the District starting in early to mid May at a new shop called Wrecking Ball Coffee, which will be over at 5th and H Sts NW in Chinatown. The changes will be taking place here in the next month, leaving me without a third place to work from, which has me very disappointed. Murky has been, since I left my desk job, my home and community since 2006. The picture above shows half my Murky family, the other roving consultants and self-employed folks who have been my “co-workers,” and I count many among my finest friends. This site was actually designed and coded in the upstairs section of Murky before the county shuttered that part of the shop.
Murky’s run wasn’t free from controversy, from the problem with DC sales taxes that shuttered the Capitol Hill location, to Dickpunchgate, but it was home to me. And so, I’ll miss my third place, and hope that the folks who run Liberty Tavern will know they have a group of regulars who’re looking for a home, and open to what they’ve got to offer.
Sometimes it seems like there’s a lot of conflict between DC, VA and MD, what with talk of car taxes and arguments over Metro funding. It’s a new time in America, however, and Arlington County is apparently trying to turn over a new leaf and be inclusive of new DC employees. So if you’re up for a cabinet post in the Obama administration, Arlington wants to help you.
You probably need it.