Mutiny Information Café seized by the City of Denver

The building that houses the Mutiny Information Cafe has been seized by the city of Denver for unpaid taxes. It happened, as these things tend to happen, both after a long labor and all of a sudden. But for now, the doors are closed, and they will remain so until Mutiny reconciles with the city…or the default becomes permanent and Mutiny is no more.

In a quick response to the seizure, Mutiny set up a GoFundMe page late September 22, with the goal of raising the $42,126 needed to settle its financial obligation to the city. By mid-afternoon today, donations had already topped $24,000 in pledges…and counting. “It’s overwhelming,” says Mutiny co-owner Jim Norris. “I feel bad for having to ask. It’s been a comedy of errors to get to where we are right now. Now we’re in this Blues Brothers kind of situation.”

“Coming out of COVID has been difficult for all small businesses and humans across the globe,” the GoFundMe page notes, outlining some of the reasons for Mutiny’s current situation: not just the pandemic, but the disruption caused by proximity from co-owner Matt Megyesi. fatal heart attack earlier this year. Although GoFundMe doesn’t mention it, the chaos caused by the summer vandalism of the storefront couldn’t have helped either.

“We had no idea this was going to happen,” Norris said of the city’s seizure of the overdue sales tax bill. “We had received letters, but I thought I had a little time.”

But around 1 p.m. on September 22, city officials showed up with a locksmith. “I had to take my cat out,” says Norris. “It would have been comical if it wasn’t so sad, me trying to load up a cat carrier and a beer cooler with some of my personal stuff.”

“The city prefers that our local small businesses succeed and remain open, and warrants of seizure are only issued when other options to collect taxes owed to the city and county of Denver have been exhausted,” says Josh Rosenblum, gatekeeper. -word of the Denver. The Department of Finance. “If the outstanding taxes are paid, the city will rescind the warrants for seizure.”

Norris acknowledges that the city had been coming to Mutiny’s house once a week for the past two weeks, leaving him a card to allow him to make contact about unpaid sales taxes which then only exceeded $31,000, but with all this was going on with Mutiny, he simply hadn’t had time to call them back. “I was stunned,” Norris says. “That doesn’t seem like a number you would grab a company for, especially considering how many other companies have significantly higher tax arrears than that.”

As unexpected as the town’s move may have been, Norris quickly takes responsibility for the situation. “It happened on my watch, you know?” he says. “I made it up just trying to keep up. That’s all I’ve been doing since January.

Norris is currently discussing his options with the city and a tax attorney who has volunteered to help. While Mutiny has thirty days to settle the debt — specifically, in the form of a lump sum cashier’s check — he could also ask the city to change its mind, which the GoFundMe page promises “you can best believe that. We will do it”.

The building at 2 South Broadway has been many things since it was built in 1904: a gas station, a grocery store, a pharmacy, a soda fountain, and even a dance studio. Books have been the main focus since the 1980s, culminating in Mutiny, a haven of support for creatives of all types. The GoFundMe page lists some of them, although the actual list is endless: “LGBTQ+, anarchists, punks, hiphoppas, nerds, sex workers, writers, comedians, artists, eccentrics, idiots, etc.”

“I don’t know if I would have become a full-time artist without Mutiny,” says R. Alan Brooks, writer, artist, and Regis Professor of Denver, who adds that it “created a place where the artistic community can be embraced, loved and connected to each other. There is no place like this in the city, and their love for the community is boundless.

Local author Hillary Leftwich agrees: “When I moved to Denver in 2006, Mutiny quickly became my local support system. I’ve had so much support and love from Mutiny and artists who have been connected to Mutiny since then. I always tried to give back what they gave me, but it would be impossible. They survived when so many other local businesses did not. They have lost friends who have been valuable in both friendship and community. They survived the pandemic. They are, in many ways, the heart connecting many businesses, artists and local people within the Denver community. Now it’s our turn to save them.

Brooks and Leftwich are two of the Colorado creators listed on the quick and admittedly incomplete list of artists hosted by Mutiny over the years on the GoFundMe page. Others include “Jessica Halpine, Karl Krumphoz, Meca’Ayo Cole, Go Go Germaine, Katie Bowman…Brandon Allen, Erin K Barnes, Zack Kopp, TJ Little, Vincent Cheap, Casey Donelle Dubois, Spells, Ben Roy, King Rat …Ravi Zupa, Jack Jensen, Lily Fangz, Jeff Stonic (DeadRoom Comedy), Thomas Detour Evans, Addison Herron-Wheeler, Shannah Makes Stuff, Heart in Box Vintage, Chingon Pinz, SmallBoiFunk (and everyone from Fr8 Heavy Freestyles), Black Market Translation (and everyone from Punketry).” The fact that this is only part of the community that Mutiny has supported speaks to his importance in Denver’s art landscape, and what a loss it would be to all of Denver and beyond if Mutiny disappear.

Norris points out that one of his immediate concerns is with his staff. “They’re probably the best staff I’ve ever had for any company. People see that something bigger is going on,” he says. “It’s more than just a business. Everyone at the store knows that.”

Like everyone who has ever entered this store.

“Please be patient while we sort this out,” Mutiny concluded in his online post. “It’s been a hell of a year. We love you all.”

To support Mutiny Information Cafe, visit the GoFundMe page; For more information about the store and its history, see Mutiny’s website.

This story has been updated to include quotes and information from an interview with Jim Norris, as well as a comment from the town.

About John A. Provost

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