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July 2, 07

NEWS / Nightlight loses business license Venue owes more than $39,000 in unpaid taxes

BELLINGHAM — Downtown bar and concert venue Nightlight Lounge is closed after having its business license revoked Thursday.

Washington State Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow said the venue, located at 211 E. Chestnut St., owes more than $39,000 in unpaid taxes.

Gowrylow said the Nightlight was cited in April for not paying and has not paid since then. To regain its business license, the venue must pay the taxes it owes and post a bond for six months’ worth of taxes, Gowrylow said.

Nightlight Lounge management did not return calls seeking comment Friday. According to a sign posted in the venue’s window Friday evening, the venue plans to reopen after resolving the tax issues.

The lounge has attracted nationally touring acts such as Henry Rollins, Blackalicious and Dinosaur Jr. since it opened in 2004 under ownership of a five-person group called Gravy Dog LLC.

The venue is also popular with college-age crowds for its ’80s night, which it took over when downtown mainstay the 3B closed in 2005.

Gowrylow declined to comment on the specifics of the Nightlight’s case but said that the unpaid taxes occurred over nine months and were likely sales tax revenue that the business collected but did not pay to the state.

“For retailers, the vast majority of unpaid taxes are revenue they got from customers that they did not remit to us,” Gowrylow said. “That’s not their money.”

Gowrylow said taking away a business license is not a step that his agency takes lightly. He said the venue was given the opportunity to set up a payment plan and was warned 10 days before the April citation.

Reach Caleb Heeringa at 715- 2260 or caleb.heeringa@bellinghamherald.com. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/102/story/118313.html



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