State Revenue Department seizes Albany car dealership -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State Revenue Department seizes dealership

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The state shut down a long-time and well-known Albany family business.

The Georgia Department of Revenue says Bill Chambers Motors owes more than $600,000 in sales taxes, fees, and penalties dating back to November 2008.

The gates to Bill Chambers Motors on West Oglethorpe Drive are padlocked.  Yellow tape warns that it has been seized by the Georgia Department of Revenue.

The car lot was opened at that spot in 1955 by Bill Chambers Senior, and has been run by his son and grandson in recent years. Compliance officers are inside the office, going through records and computers. Most of the cars are gone, officers turning them over to the owners.

Jimmy Buckner picked up one he had on the lot for the Chambers to sell.  How long have you done business with him? Buckner said "Since 1969. "So is this a shock? "Yea, yea, it's a shock."

Georgia Department of Revenue documents filed in Dougherty County Superior Court say that the Chambers Company owes more than $601,000 in unpaid sales and use tax, fees, and penalties dating back to November 2008. They also list a judgement for almost $23,000 to Heritage Bank in a bankruptcy case.

Charles Wims has worked at Chambers Motors for more than ten years, but Wednesday he says Bill Chambers told him he could not pay him.  Wims said "The lot is dead. And ain't nobody going get nothing from nobody."

What did Mr. Chambers tell you when all this came down? "He didn't tell me nothing really, because he just started crying. He never been through nothing like this before. I mean Mr. Chambers is a good man."

Just a block away, Danny McDonald at Uncle Robert's Used Cars had nothing but praise for the Chambers, and said it could be the start of more Albany business failures.

 McDonald said "the economy is so bad right now, I'd be surprised if a lot more people don't go down. A lot of people are not selling cars."

I spoke with Ida Chambers, who started the business with her husband Bill in 1955. She did not want to go on camera, but said her family are honest people. Chambers told me "That business has been my life for almost 60 years. But I am sticking with my family. My son has done nothing wrong."

But the Georgia Department of Revenue has seized the business, and will try to recoup as much of the $601,000 they say the Chambers owe, and it looks like a 55 year old family owned business is history

Local bank representatives were going through the company books along with state compliance officers to determine how much they're owed.

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