Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Joe's St. Louis for 2-27-16

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Joe's St. Louis for 2-27-16

Article excerpt

PRETTY SCARY * Larry Kirchner, owner of The Darkness haunted house in Soulard, recently criticized St. Louis city for having an unfriendly business environment.

That relationship isn't getting any cozier, with Kirchner claiming that the city is incorrect that he owes more than $44,000 in real estate taxes.

And Kirchner may be right.

Kirchner is president of Halloween Productions Inc., which also operates Creepyworld near Fenton and The Abyss at the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis. It also designs haunted attractions for companies worldwide.

Online records from the St. Louis Collector of Revenue's office showed Friday that Kirchner owed $44,340 in real estate taxes for the property at 1525-27 South Eighth Street $31,784 from 2015 and $12,556 from 2013, including penalties and interest.

When asked about the debt, Kirchner said he did not owe any money, and said he would be able to document his claim once he secures copies of checks from his accountant.

As to the 2013 amount, Kirchner said there was a disagreement over the total, one he hoped to iron out soon. When asked about the 2015 amount, Kirchner said, "Maybe they took my money and applied it to something else. But I have paid my taxes (for 2015), 100 percent."

Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly conceded that some of the money Kirchner paid may have been applied incorrectly, but he added it appeared Kirchner still owed some money.

"It seems that the issue involves one year of taxes, 2013," Daly said. "And we're more than happy to meet with him to determine what he actually owes us."

Earlier this month, Kirchner said he planned to list The Darkness for sale and would consider moving to St. Louis County in 2017. He said traffic at the attraction had declined in recent years, and he blamed the decline on the city's tax structure, crime, politics, graffiti and a lack of political vision and leadership.

BAR TABS * Aiming to reopen Missouri Bar & Grille by Valentine's Day was "a bit optimistic. …

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