County sues hotel for back taxes
Nonpayment of property and room taxes by the Historian Inn in Gardnerville has prompted legal action by the county.
Douglas County commissioners at their Tuesday meeting unanimously voted to file a complaint in district court against the inn for arrears totaling more than $200,000.
A total of $31,000 in property taxes and $171,000 in room (transient occupancy) taxes are owed to the county.
Commissioner Steve Thaler said the only way he would agree to dismiss the charge is if full payment is made by the inn within 30 days.
“Anything less than that I won’t go for,” he said.
The Historian Inn, located at 1427 Highway 395, is operated by Mammoth Lakes-based Cle Hospitality LLC.
The two-story inn was built in 2000 and has more than 30 rooms. Cle Hospitality purchased the property in February 2012. Problems with timely tax payments began shortly thereafter.
In November 2015, commissioners authorized the filing of a civil complaint in district court to collect more just over $170,000 owed in taxes.
Cle Hospitality owner Deb Pierrel did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. Instead, she was represented by Carson City-based attorney Sandra Lawrence.
Lawrence said Pierrel is disputing the amount owed because of chargebacks. Lawrence also said Pierrel expects to have the taxes paid off by the end of the county’s fiscal year.
“Mrs. Pierrel made a lot of promises that she was going to rectify this,” Thaler said. “Now, instead of paying TOT (transient occupancy tax) or property tax she’s paying an attorney. She’s moved it to the next level.”
Pierrel made a tax payment this week, said Kathy Lewis, clerk-treasurer for Douglas County. Payments are put toward the oldest debt, Lewis said, so the hotel is now paid up through 2014-15.
A room tax in arrears becomes a lien against the property.
Commissioner Nancy McDermid said allowing the Historian Inn to debate the amount owed while not paying sets a bad precedent for other lodges in the area.
“It isn’t fair to them (other hotel owners) to have this one outstanding,” she said.
The commissioners asked Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie for advice for how to handle the situation.
Ritchie said the real question is how long the panel is willing to put up with the lack of payments.
“At the end of the day, the Historian Inn will probably be closed,” he said.