April 1, 2011
Slocum House closure fallout continues

By Niesha Lofing

More bad news regarding the closure of Slocum House - gift certificates to the Fair Oaks restaurant are likely worthless.

More than a dozen Bee readers have called and e-mailed since news of the closure hit our Business section Thursday. Click here to read the story.

Calls to the owner's financial consultant (and former owner himself) Jack Kandola have not yet been returned, nor has a message to the property owner.

Given that, we asked Gary Almond, president of the Better Business Bureau of Northeast California, what to do.

Turns out it depends on the situation.

If the business is a sole proprietorship, the owner is liable, meaning people with gift certificates can take the matter to small claims court, Almond said.

If the proprietor has filed for bankruptcy, the would-be diner can file a claim with the court trustee. But the likelihood of actually getting money back in the latter scenario is pretty slim.

"You might be throwing a lot of effort into a bad prospect," he said.

Public records do not currently show a bankruptcy filing for the business or owner Joe Wittren, although there is a $20,858 state tax lien against the restaurant.

Almond said the best thing thing to do in a situation like this is to contact the proprietor and inquire about a refund.

The phone number for Slocum House is no longer in service. The restaurant's website also has been shut down.

*Bee researcher Sheila A. Kern contributed to this report.

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