A Thomson business has been forced to close its doors because of allegations by officials with the State of Georgia Revenue Department contending the business has failed to pay more than $118,000 in state sales taxes.
The business, known as Fast Lane Lube Change, located at 102 East Hill Street, is owned by Richard C. "Rick" Murphy, who also is a member on the McDuffie County Board of Tax Assessors. He has served in that capacity since being appointed in Sept. 2000 by the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners.
Contacted by the newspaper on Tuesday, Mr. Murphy said he plans to tenure his resignation and expressed regret that the matter happened. He said he wished to make no further comments.
Mr. Murphy, a Thomson resident and retired banker, is accused of owing the state a total of $118,625.61, according to a legal notice filed by Susan Sheppard, whose title was listed as an authorized representative for the State Revenue Commissioner. The notice was filed Sept. 18.
In a legal advertisement which appeared in last week's editions of The McDuffie Mirror, notice was given of an upcoming public auction at the business. The auction is slated for Oct. 2, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
At the planned auction, the general public will be allowed to purchase certain items from the business, including miscellaneous tools, oil, air filters, hoses, washer fluid, cleaning supplies, ladders, appliances, fans and other assorted items, according to the legal ad.
The legal ad explains that the Georgia Department of Revenue has levied upon personal property belonging to Mr. Murphy at Fast Lane Lube Change, which has been in business in Thomson for several years.
The business employed several local residents.
Meanwhile, Ruby Harbin, who serves as chairwoman of the McDuffie County Tax Assessors Board, said she hoped Mr. Murphy did not resign.
"I think this is an unfortunate personal situation for Rick," Mrs. Harbin said in a telephone interview Monday night. "He hasn't violated his oath in serving on this board. I greatly respect his work over the years on this board. He has always been a very responsible and valuable board member. We would be devastated if Rick weren't serving on the board with us."
The other person serving on the local tax assessor's board is Robert "Bob" Ballard, who recently was re-appointed to another five year term. He has served on the board for a number of years.