Village Corner, a small grocery store on the corner of South Forest and South University avenues that sells beer, wine and liquor, hasn’t been able to buy alcohol to stock its shelves since the beginning of the school year after the store’s owner failed to pay taxes for the store to the Internal Revenue Service on time.

(MAX COLLINS/Daily)

The Ann Arbor Clerk and Register of Deeds filed a federal tax lien against the liquor store on Aug. 26 because of back taxes, preventing the store from purchasing alcohol until the back taxes had been paid to the IRS.

Village Corner owner Dick Sheer acknowledged he was late in filing the store’s tax reports, but said the store should resume selling alcohol sometime early next week.

“The main issue was the fact that we hadn’t filed all our returns on time,” he said. “I made an arrangement to take care of what needs to be taken care of.”

Ken Wozniak, director of executive services for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, said Village Corner currently has two liquor licenses — a Specially Designated Merchant license and a Specially Designated Distributor license — permitting them to sell beer, wine and spirits.

Because of the lien, though, Village Corner’s licenses were in escrow, which meant they were the property of the IRS and prohibited them from selling alcohol, Wozniak said.

The lien also prohibited the store from selling alcohol beginning on the August filing date.

However, Village Corner continued to sell the alcohol it had left in stock until Ann Arbor Police informed them last Friday that they were violating the terms of the lien, Sheer said.

“We knew that we lost our right to buy liquor (in August), and we learned that we lost our right to sell it on Friday,” he said.

Sheer said he immediately stopped selling alcohol as soon as the police informed him that what he was doing was illegal.

Although he said it would take him a while to restock his shelves, Wozniak said he expects to be at full capacity in about two weeks.

Village Corner, which received its first liquor license Oct. 26, 1970, has had a history of both federal and state tax liens being filed against them, the earliest dating back to 1979.

Since then, the store has received 18 liens for issues ranging from sale to minors to insufficient funds.

The store is notorious for spotting fake IDs used to try to buy alcohol, and once had all its confiscated IDs posted on a wall in the store.

Village Corner is located on the future site of 601 S. Forest, the highly contentious planned student high-rise apartment building.

The Ann Arbor City Council will meet Monday night at 7 p.m. for a final vote on the plans.

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