Update from Mama Roux
"So. Much. Happening.
Thank you all for your incredible support! I am speechless!
I know it seems like we are quiet right now and I'm sorry. We have so much going on and are taking it all a step at a time.
Thank you for your patience and messages of encouragement. As of right now it's looking like we will be operating by the time the snow storm arrives!
We are closed today but, Monday Chef JJ returns with the Bistro and there will be some never before offered poboys!
Thank you again, from the entire CRoux!!"
An update as to what is happening and why...
"Much misinformation out there about our current situation. I've got very limited network access (prison internet sucks) (that's a joke there, folks, I'm not actually in prison) (not yet) but will try to give some info as I can.
The whole issue surrounds a past-due obligation from 2012 that we have been working with DOR about for nearly a year. Some things got missed in 2012, and by the time we figured it all out, the past-due amount was higher than we could take care of all at once. Those of you who want to judge us missing a few filings should try to do HALF of what any small business owner does in a given week. But like I said, it's not that we simply chose to stop paying anything... it's that 2012 was a nutty year, and we missed a few filings without realizing it. It happens.
Anyway, like I said, we were making good on it, AND completely current on all obligations as well. Then, out of the blue, we got a mailing from DOR on Monday, with conflicting information regarding the status of those 2012 filings. Some months were suddenly open again that we have records showing were closed. The letter stated that we needed to take action immediately to avoid closure, and I telephoned IMMEDIATELY. I left a detailed voicemail for the caseworker we are dealing with, asking her to telephone back ASAP so we could figure out what action we needed to take.
The next day, Mayor Ballard closed all government offices due to weather. We didn't receive a phone call, and I didn't expect one with the closure.
Wednesday came and went with no return call, and we poured over paperwork trying to figure out where the discrepancies were and why. Again, keep in mind, ALL of this for a 2012 obligation that we were making good on WHILE REMAINING CURRENT. There's no shame in that. And if you feel there's shame in that, quite frankly I don't want your business.
SO. Thursday I'm out of town on business with Paul Sanchez, and I get a telephone call that DOR is at the restaurant shutting us down. I spoke to our caseworker, who was at The Roux, and she quoted ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS amounts due. Due immediately. More money due than we bring in in gross sales. It's a scare tactic, and Kim York Watkins and others can attest to that one.
Communications progressed to the supervisor at DOR's Taxpayer Advocacy Office, who told us we had an immediate amount due of $2300. No matter that we didn't understand WHY that was so, it was clear that we needed to pay and let the dust clear later. Which is no problem at all... we didn't know we owed that immediately, but paying it immediately was no problem. We tried to arrange it over the phone.
That's when things suddenly went weird. AFTER telling me the amount due on the payment plan was $2300, and AFTER I tried to pay it immediately, I was told that wasn't good enough. The payment plan was revoked, no longer an option, and we aren't allowed to open for business again until we pay all 2012 amounts immediately.
I ask any of you with any common sense... if we could pay the 2012 amounts immediately, would we have been working with the advocacy center to begin with? We're current on all new obligations and making good on old ones... But if we can't open for business, that all stops immediately.
The city loses money, the state loses money. My employees lose money. You lose lunch. I fail to see the common sense in ANY of this.
Oh, and there's one more thing. I mentioned Kim York Watkins. I'll let her tell her story in her own words, but as I understand it, her business received an IDENTICAL threatening letter on Monday, and ALSO was not able to reach anyone at DOR when she called, and ALSO is not receiving return calls.
Sounds fishy to me, folks. What's going on here? My theory? We're the next Detroit, and memos went out at every level of government office (including DCE) to call in all possible past due amounts immediately, using any tactics necessary. There's only one time in my entire life I called in a debt from a friend IMMEDIATELY, and it was when I was fresh out of college and hit one month where I had budgeted poorly and was about to not be able to pay my apartment rent. I don't mean to be chicken little here -- ok, that's not true... I do mean to be chicken little -- but ask yourself WHY multiple businesses would receive threats to pay grossly exaggerated amounts all by the end of January 2014, or else?
Okay. Too long, didn't read. Sorry about that. This is my first chance to explain anything and I wanted to make it count. Thank you for your support. Unless you're a hater. In which case thank you for the publicity. I'm not sure which of you is better for us, but I do know which ones of you I love. Art Bouvier
Chief Button Pusher,
PS PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK AS MUCH AS YOUR LITTLE MOUSE CAN CLICK. THANK YOU."
An Update from Mama Roux
"Hello all. I'm here! It's been a very long day, as you are aware. I don't have much time for explanation right now but what I must say is, WOW!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! This is a bizarre series of events that not even I understand entirely yet. In the midst of it, you all have shown nothing but love and support. From customers to business friends, the empathy and the outpouring of support is overwhelming. As the messages came flooding in, we were literally moved to tears.
Tomorrow, Chef JJ's Backyard Bistro trailer will be at the Roux. As you know, all of our product is fresh and therefore must be sold before the weekend. He has offered to sell it for us! Check here in the morning for more details.
Thank you again friends. You amaze and humble me."