Casper’s Parkway Plaza Owes State Nearly $90,000; Hold Placed On Liquor License
The largest hotel in Casper again has fallen behind on paying its taxes to the state, which again has triggered a notice suspending its ability to buy liquor, according to public records.
The Parkway Plaza, 123 W. E St., owes $41,277.17 in unpaid sales and use taxes from November through February, according to a lien filed by the Wyoming Department of Revenue in the Natrona County Clerk's Office on April 27.
The hotel also owes the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services $47,396.89 from April 2016 through December 2016 for unpaid workers' compensation taxes, according to liens filed on Jan. 25 and May 2.
This marks the fourth time for such sales and use tax liens since CRU Casper -- a subsidiary of the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based CRU Real Estate Group -- bought the hotel in June 2015. Its management vowed then it would become the premier hotel in Wyoming.
A manager for the Parkway Plaza did not return a call seeking comment.
The failure to pay the taxes resulted in the Department of Revenue notifying the Wyoming Liquor Division, the division's senior compliance agent Kelly Hunt said Tuesday.
The division then sent a letter on April 17 to the City of Casper saying the hotel's license is "on hold," meaning it cannot buy alcoholic beverages from the division, the only legal outlet in Wyoming, Hunt said.
However, the Liquor Division's ability to take action stops at city hall because retail liquor licenses are issued at the local level, he said.
The city, specifically the police department, has the option to investigate whether the Parkway Plaza is illegally acquiring alcoholic beverages for sale, Hunt said.
That issue arose last fall.
The hotel had financial problems including bounced payroll checks, failure to pay sales and use taxes, and the resulting inability to buy alcohol from the state. A former Parkway Plaza employee told city council that hotel management told him use company credit cards to go to local liquor stores to buy alcoholic beverages.
Former City Manager V.H. McDonald said the police department was investigating those assertions. However, the Parkway Plaza soon paid the taxes it owed and the hold was lifted.
The city is in the same place again with the hotel.
Pete Meyers, Casper's assistant support services director, said the city did receive the April 17 notice, but it has not asked the Casper Police Department to investigate.
That's up to the department, Meyers said.
Interim Casper Police Chief Steve Schulz said officers need more than a notice from the Liquor Division to investigate whether the hotel is buying liquor illegally.
Officers would need probable cause to look into the matter, such as if a liquor store reported someone was buying alcoholic beverages with a Parkway Plaza credit card, Schulz said.