Hotel’s future cloudy

The Hotel Clovis could be up for public auction in September. Photo by Eric Kluth.

By Jack King

The Hotel Clovis could be on the block in September if back taxes are not paid, County Treasurer Linda Hall said Wednesday.
Hall said collection of back taxes on the hotel was turned over to the state last year. The taxes still have not been paid and the state Taxation and Revenue Department could auction the building in September, she said.
Robert Rubin of the Taxation and Revenue Department confirmed that the Hotel Clovis is among those referred to his department for collections in 2002. He added that the department prefers to collect the taxes to putting the building up for auction.
Records in the Country Treasurer’s office show that two pieces of the property belonging to the hotel, one at 201 N. Main St. and a second at 112 E. Second, belong to the Hispano Business Council, which has not paid taxes on the property since 1999.
Currently, back taxes on both pieces of property total $5,175.26, the records said.
The two pieces of property are valued by the Treasurer’s office at a total of $123,273. The property on Main is valued at $75,000 and the property on East Second is valued at $48,273.
Johnny Chavez, a member and former chairman of the Hispano Business Council, said he is aware the taxes are delinquent and that the building could be sold. He said members of the Hispano Business Council will come up with the money for the back taxes before the building is auctioned off.
Chavez said he couldn’t explain why the taxes have not been paid before now.
“If nothing’s being done with the hotel, it’s hard to come up with money from activities (to pay the taxes),” he said.
He said he doesn’t know where the Hispanic Business Council will get the money to pay back taxes on the building.
“I don’t know, but it’s not going to go for taxes,” he said.
City Manager Raymond Mondragon said representatives of Hispano Business Council failed to appear at a June 23 meeting he called to discuss the building.
“My understanding is that the City Commission is not ready to make an offer to buy the hotel, so why meet?” Chavez asked.
“We bought it with the primary aim of developing jobs for low-income Clovis residents, but the city has never made any effort to purchase it or to work with the Hispano Business Council to develop something,” Chavez said.
But Mayor David Lansford said he is not aware of any proposal the Hispano Business Council has made to the city about using the building to help low-income people.
Lansford said the city still has foreclosure litigation pending against the Hispano Business Council over repairs the city made to the Hotel Clovis.
City Attorney David Richards said District Court Judge Fred Hensley has signed an order allowing the city to make the Taxation and Revenue Department a party to its foreclosure suit.
Dick Smith, chairman of the city’s Hotel Clovis Task Force, said the group would be concerned about building’s future if it goes up for sale.
“Our task has been centered on what the building could be used for rather than who owns it. But we do think there’s a role for the Hotel Clovis in downtown Clovis and we’d be concerned if someone were to purchase it for the purpose of tearing it down,” he said.