BAXTER -- A Baxter eatery had its food license revoked by the city Tuesday for failing to pay state unemployment taxes, but the Baxter City Council decided to give the owner 30 days before it will shut the business down.
Pop-A-Corns, located in the Westgate Mall in Baxter, is owned by Bob Curtis of Pequot Lakes. The Minnesota Department of Economic Security recently notified the city to revoke the eatery's license to sell food.
When a food license is officially revoked by the city, city officials are required to enter the premises and stop all business transactions until the owner reapplies for another food license.
Curtis attended Tuesday's council meeting to request he have 30 days to work out all tax problems and the sale of his business to Marty and Jennifer Anderson, who also attended the meeting.
Curtis said the issue was a result of his decision to terminate an employee whom he alleged made false unemployment claims. Curtis said he brought the issue to the attention of a state unemployment investigator. The action resulted in an ongoing legal situation for him and his business and a dramatic increase in his employer unemployment contributions.
Curtis said the sale of his business is tied up in paperwork related to this issue with the Department of Economic Security, although both he and the Andersons were hoping the sale could go through within the next two weeks.
He requested that the city give him 30 days before shutting down his business so that the Andersons could purchase the business and apply for their own food license.
Curtis said he has seven to eight employees who depend financially on his business. Many are college students. Plus, the food license revocation would create a hardship for the Andersons as the new owners, he said.
City Attorney J. Brad Person told council members that they were being told by the state to revoke Pop-A-Corns food license but the state did not stipulate when they had to shut down the business.
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