The Oklahoma Tax Commission shut down Oklahoma City's Lifestyle Pools LLC Wednesday and padlocked the premises at 8901 NW 10, leaving customers with questions and unfinished swimming pools.
Mike Zachritz of Nichols Hills, who founded the company in 1976, could not be reached by phone or by his Facebook account.
The action was taken after nearly a year of court proceedings. The state is seeking withholding taxes, interest and penalties that amounted to more than $220,000 by March 30, court records show. District Judge Patricia G. Parrish ordered the company and Zachritz, who appears as Theodore M. Zachritz in court papers, to shutter the business June 6.
The business kept operating until officials closed it and locked the doors Wednesday morning, confirmed Paula Ross, communications director for the tax commission. She said the agency tries to keep delinquent business taxpayers from getting to the point of closure, and officials would continue to try to work out a payment plan with the company.
In the meantime, customers with unfinished pools were left in the lurch.
They won't be left high and dry for good, though, said Don Daye, sales manager, who was busy Wednesday answering angry phone calls and messages left on Internet discussion boards.
“No one is not going to get a pool finished,” Daye told The Oklahoman Wednesday evening.
Daye said Todd Zachritz, Mike Zachritz's son, bought out his father earlier this year after the elder Zachritz had a heart attack. That appears to shed light on remarks made by a process servicer on a document in court records.
On April 5, a sheriff's deputy out to serve Mike Zachritz a summons and other documents at his home on Drakestone Avenue in Nichols Hills, reported Joe Zachritz, his brother, would not let deputies speak with Mike Zachritz because he “had just gotten out of hospital and couldn't come to the door and wasn't coherent,” records show.
The company's trouble started before April, however. The tax commission's first court filing was Aug. 3, 2011. Last December, Lifestyle Pools bailed in the middle of a five-year lease of property at 7420 NW 85 in Rockwell Industrial Park, said broker Derek James of Price Edwards & Co. The company had leased the 4,050-square-foot building since December 2009, he said.
“They did a midnight move on me,” James said. “I had to have it totally redone,” he said.
Daye said that Todd Zachritz is operating under the name Todd's Lifestyle Pools — and that he promises to finish all work started by his father's company. Daye said the men quit taking orders for new pools in order to get caught up.
“A lot of people are getting their pool worked on today, yesterday, tomorrow,” Daye said. “His son is finishing the pools. He's taking money out of his pocket. That's admirable. He's going to lose a lot of money out of his pocket. My future is uncertain. My big concern is making sure the customers are being taken care of.”
Daye said he would not be surprised to see the company, which employs 15 to 20 people, back open for business in a week.
No one is not going to get a pool finished.”