George Garg, owner of Fast Cash in northeast Brainerd, has been accused of operating as a secondhand goods store without a license.
The business, owned by Garg and his wife, Pamela Marsh-Garg, was denied a renewed secondhand license by the Brainerd City Council in January of 2006 after police officers alleged the Gargs violated several city ordinances, including selling animals without a license and failing to keep transaction reports on items bought.
An appeal by the Gargs of the council's decision was denied in August of 2006 in Crow Wing County District Court. Fast Cash has remained open since losing its secondhand goods license, operating instead as a consignment shop and retail store.
Six misdemeanor citations for operating without a license have been issued against Garg since January of 2006, according to court records. On four of the citations, a pre-trial hearing is set for Wednesday. On a fifth citation a pre-trial hearing is set for Dec. 26 and on the sixth an arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 9.
On Tuesday, Garg denied he's done anything wrong.
"This is bogus," Garg said. "If they would have found something the whole town would be laughing at me, I'd be a laughing stock, but they found nothing.
"I want to go to jury trial just to prove they are crooks, not me."
Most recently, Brainerd police officers executed a search warrant on Oct. 24 at Fast Cash and seized a bag containing paperwork and receipts, a black box containing receipts and a bag of brass knuckles.
According to the search warrant, on Sept. 11 a Brainerd police officer interviewed a man who admitted stealing a DVD player and a digital camera and selling them to Garg at Fast Cash for $100. The man told the police officer that Garg had him sign a receipt book but he did not receive a receipt from Garg.
The officer interviewed Garg, who denied purchasing items from people and who said he only takes donated property from people, according to the warrant. Garg was issued a citation for operating a secondhand goods store without a license.
On Oct. 23, a Brainerd investigator took a statement from a woman who sold a stove and a refrigerator to Garg at Fast Cash for $100. The woman told police Garg had her sign a receipt that said she had donated her items but he did not give her a copy of the receipt.
"He was cited for operating as a second hand goods dealer without a license based in part on the information recovered as result of the search warrant," Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc said. "He is not licensed to operate a secondhand goods shop."
Garg claims he is being discriminated against by the Brainerd Police Department. He said he has contacted several Twin Cities media outlets and wants to set up a meeting with Gov. Tim Pawlenty to discuss the accusations. He also said he is preparing a discrimination lawsuit for federal court.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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