State closes Dent's Undertaking

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The doors to the historic Dent's Undertaking Establishment were locked this week by the state's Department of Revenue.

State tax collectors swept in Monday to close the city's oldest black-owned funeral home.

The business can reopen, however, if the owners pay the $142,334 it owes the state for sales taxes, said Charles Willey, the spokesman for the Department of Revenue.

The funeral home was founded by John and Julia Dent in 1888, family members have told The Augusta Chronicle in past reports. The business has remained in the Dent family since.

Dent's has a history of tax difficulties going back to the mid-1990s, Mr. Willey said.

According to state and county records, liens have repeatedly been placed on the funeral home to collect federal, state and local taxes.

If the current balance is not paid, the Department of Revenue could take possession of all personal property inside the D'Antignac Street funeral home, Mr. Willey said. No date for such action has been set.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. According to property records, it is valued at $284,636 and is in the name of Frank Griffin, the funeral director.

The sales tax is considered a trust tax that businesses collect and send to the state, Mr. Willey said. The state keeps 4 percent and sends the rest back to the county, he said.

A person answering the phone at Dent's who didn't want to be identified said Tuesday that the owners are working to raise the money to pay off the tax debt. They hope to accomplish that today.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

BUSINESS STAYED IN THE FAMILY


- Family members told The Chronicle in past reports that Dent's Undertaking Establishment was founded by John and Julia Dent in 1888. Mr. Dent learned embalming at Platt's Funeral Home because at that time blacks weren't allowed to attend embalming school programs for whites.


- Dent's moved from Broad Street to D'Antignac Street in 1900.


- Mr. Dent died in 1911, and his wife, Julia, took over the funeral home. Mrs. Dent died in 1945. The Dents' son-in-law, Thomas H. Ketch Sr., who married their only daughter, took over the funeral home. Mr. Ketch led the company until his death in 1985. His daughters, Thomasina Ketch and Juliette Burton, took over the family business.


- In 1990, the funeral home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Source: Augusta Chronicle archives

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Captain Awesome
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Captain Awesome 07/23/08 - 09:10 am
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I hope they can get the money

I hope they can get the money and stay open. It will be good to have that tax revenue too.

ITDoc
1
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ITDoc 07/23/08 - 09:15 am
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It is not just the IRS. I had

It is not just the IRS. I had to pay penalties and interest for a car bought 10 years ago.... I never saw a tax bill.... bill of sale shows sales tax paid... five years ago, they get judgement for sales tax plus interest.... SC dealer out of business... no corroborating evidence... BOOM, I pay or go to jail. "Fair Tax" plan is not fair. The rich still pay more... the poor still get subsidized... why change it if it isn't going to be different? Straight sales tax. No rebates, no exemptions. That's a fair tax.

rabidwilleycoyote
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rabidwilleycoyote 07/23/08 - 09:17 am
0
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I would like any of you black

I would like any of you black racist to point out one posts where my comment was racist. Now justus4 and jackfruit and hamer, well that's a different stroy is it not?

disssman
6
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disssman 07/23/08 - 09:22 am
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I think a far better comment

I think a far better comment for all of us is "why do we have to pay sales tax on our burial"? Talk about a death tax, and yet churches and non-profits don't pay any sales taxeson their fund raisers!! I don't know about the rest of you but my wife could probably use that 7 percent tax more than the state. By the way the tax is$142334, that equates to an income of well over 2 million dollars. I think I could have saved enough to pay the taxes unless I was living a lifestyle you folks only dream of.

merlin
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merlin 07/23/08 - 09:36 am
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Are you the "rabid coyote"

Are you the "rabid coyote" that infected those poor innocent cows????

KingJames
11
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KingJames 07/23/08 - 09:36 am
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Just because this is a black

Just because this is a black owned business that has served the black community for 120 years doesn't mean that it's financial problems are a race issue. You people will find any excuse to bring up race. Justus4 and christian134 are the ring leaders. Both of you are sad, sick individuals! While you argue over petty issues, the entire city of Augusta is on a steady decline. I am sorry this establishment is in trouble, but not sorry for the current owners who should have known to pay their taxes. Should the family lose their business, at least the building will be spared, as it is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Sadly enough businesses open and they close for one reason or another. Should Dent's be forced to close, then it will just be it's time to close. There is nothing racial about it (Justus4), and certainly no "woe is me cause I'm a poor black" (christian134). You two are so stuck on stereotypes that you can't see how crazy you are. If all either of you ever see is race, then might I suggest both of you seek professional help.

intheknow
16
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intheknow 07/23/08 - 09:37 am
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Man what a pitiful soul. As

Man what a pitiful soul. As far as Dents, they will either pay their taxes or go under> No pun intended. They should be given a chance like anyone else, to pay what they owe. My concern is for those who have pre-paid for their funerals.

What4
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What4 07/23/08 - 10:00 am
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If you look at where they are

If you look at where they are located, my guess is that they have done many low-cost or even charitable funerals over all these years. I would like to hear from them what the real reason is for this problem before we convict them in the "comments" section.

mable8
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mable8 07/23/08 - 10:17 am
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Taxes have NOTHING to do with

Taxes have NOTHING to do with "race" or "religion." Either you pay what the government says you owe or they will dispossess you, period. If you pay, they will return your property, as long as you have not gone beyond an excessive amount of time to pay the debt. Dent's is no better or different from any other business--either they pay or the property will be auctioned off. So why do certain people belabor the "race" and "religion" junk?

truthbeliever
0
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truthbeliever 07/23/08 - 10:22 am
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C134, head straight back to

C134, head straight back to the altar and tarry there.

Just My Opinion
6306
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Just My Opinion 07/23/08 - 10:26 am
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Per this article, the tax

Per this article, the tax problems started when the 2 daughters took over after 1985. They probably didn't have much of a business acumen and the money/tax problems just began building up. Once they hit an amount where the penalties were too overwhelming, they threw in the towel and the IRS just had to do something about it, making it this public. Doesn't have anything to do with race, just ignorance about business.

ITDoc
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ITDoc 07/23/08 - 10:28 am
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Mable8... Why belabor the

Mable8... Why belabor the race and religion junk? Strife sells. Politics, religion and race divide America. It's what the majority wish to read and hear. If this weren't true, they couldn't sell the advertising for it. Media is exaggerating coverage of Obama because he's better for business than McCain. Photogenic, charismatic, a good orator, advertisers dream candidate. REMINDER: The "Main stream media" are for-profit companies, not public service organizations.

keepinitreal
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keepinitreal 07/23/08 - 11:32 am
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Hey yall. Know what I think?

Hey yall. Know what I think? If the title and wording of the article had any effect on anyone of us, I feel that is the reason for so much carrying on about the tax issue. I was like, man, I couldn't believe it. Dent's has been around I know for a long minute. It actually gave me butterflies for a moment, you know like when you first hear or see something out of the ordinary. If that is their debt to pay to retain the establishment, then hopefully, they'll work it out. Now on the other hand regarding it being a historical landmark is true too and should have some perserverance just on that alone.

bone
23
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bone 07/23/08 - 11:41 am
0
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a pleasure to read a truly

a pleasure to read a truly non-biased assessment, kingjames - bravo!

goldie53
46
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goldie53 07/23/08 - 11:57 am
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Dent's created a problem when

Dent's created a problem when they passed management over to Frank Griffin. He is too arrogant and talks down to people at the worse time of their life. He demands monies and for the family to write the check right now for the funeral.

So now everyone is going to other funeral homes that treats you with dignity and courtesy. Something Den'ts had in the past.
The sisters should have passed the business to Olga. This is a shame that this is happening to Dent's Funeral Home. Well, sell some of the antique furniture upstairs and raise funds to pay the taxes. Plese keep this Black-Family owned business open in Augusta.
Get rid of your manager riding around in the Cadillac Escalade looking down on people.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 07/23/08 - 12:08 pm
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I think you could have left

I think you could have left the " Black owned" part out. I would feel the same way if it was Platts, Elliott's or Williams. They all are a vital part of Augusta's history.

dale88fan
0
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dale88fan 07/23/08 - 12:18 pm
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shut them @#$%^&^& down

shut them @#$%^&^& down until they pay those taxes .. if they were such good people they would pay their bills -- they are scum heads trying to get out of it.....

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 07/23/08 - 12:24 pm
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WoW, what did they do to you,

WoW, what did they do to you, repo a coffin?

RichmondCountyResident1
29
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RichmondCountyResident1 07/23/08 - 12:32 pm
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Tall2, I totally agree with

Tall2, I totally agree with your 11:28 assessment. McCain and his supporters made this trip a big deal. That's why you have to be careful what you ask for. Looks like McCain and his supporters want a handout. As far as Den't, this is a story of failure to pay Uncle Sam his just due, color has nothing to do with it. I hope they can pay their taxes and reopen with better management in place. I wish them well.

cynatlanta
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cynatlanta 07/23/08 - 01:06 pm
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This old funeral home has

This old funeral home has played an intimate role in many hundreds of family stories in Augusta. I hope that they work things out and get the business help that they need.

christian134
1
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christian134 07/23/08 - 01:39 pm
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Oh puleese kingjames you

Oh puleese kingjames you might want to back up that train. If I can't respond to the insulting attitude of folks like justus without people like you succumbing to temper tantrums then you need to step back and take a breath...I usually respond back to someone like justus simply because it warrants response...But if or when I do then I am slammed 6 ways to Sunday...One thing you can bank on friend is that I will continue to say what I want and when I please when "ole' double whammy two step" attitude all but jumps up and bites a person on the old whahoo...:-)

debbie13
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debbie13 07/23/08 - 02:33 pm
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Ms. Ketch keep holding on God

Ms. Ketch keep holding on God will provide.
To the individual about where is senator tarver when you need him? I have e-mail him about how my brother was allowed to suffer in a mental facility and he never respond yet. It is hard on the minorities.

my2sense
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my2sense 07/23/08 - 03:27 pm
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Goldie53- I have heard about

Goldie53- I have heard about some of things you have mentioned before. Regardless of the race, I think arrogance will be the demise of this establishment. When the IRS sends a bill, it doesnt say " pay those taxes, black man or white man." They just say 'GIMMEMYDAMMONEY!' Some of u people better get some sunglasses and stop allowing race and hatred to blind you. No one walks in anybody else's shoes- stop taking cracks at eachother and learn to help one another so that this world can be a better place. Be Blessed, People.

a different drum
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a different drum 07/23/08 - 03:46 pm
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I am surprised there would be

I am surprised there would be a sales tax collected for this type of service.

1morechance
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1morechance 07/23/08 - 03:54 pm
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These are 2 sisters in their

These are 2 sisters in their 80's, who trusted there office manager, who took advantage of them. This is indeed ashame.
So it is not Dent's who did not take care of this matter.

goldie53
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goldie53 07/23/08 - 04:04 pm
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To firefighterhamer &

To firefighterhamer & my2sense. You ignorant Augusta residents. I am a lifelong Augustan. I normally don't address ignorance. Yes, it doesn't matter what ethnicity a funeral home is operated under. The reason I mention Black-owned funeral home because it is what it is.
Most of the funerals homes in this area isn't operated by local people. Get a grip and stop the racial hating. That why all the young people are leaving this old time way of thinking city.

to tell the truth1
210
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to tell the truth1 07/23/08 - 05:14 pm
0
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You are right goldie 53,

You are right goldie 53, because I know for a fact that at one time IF it hasn't changed Williams Funeral Homes are owned by White Americans and OPERATED by the Williams family. That alone doesn't excuse a business (DENTS) IGNORING paying taxes or making some sort of payment arrangements because I do know DENTS do still get a small portion of the Black funeral home business. I also know that Bennie Williams (the present OPERATOR of Williamss funeral home) and Exerzene Dotson, both of these men were employees of DENT'S funeral home for many years. They both left DENTS and started their own business (Williams & Dotson Funeral Home), Mr. Dotson, whom just recently passed away pulled out and Bennie Williams still runs that business under the name Williams funeral home.

firefigthenhamer
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firefigthenhamer 07/23/08 - 05:53 pm
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I like them big ol savannah

I like them big ol savannah river carp with them big ol fat lips, so easy to get a good hook set!

enana03
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enana03 07/23/08 - 06:01 pm
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Why is it that so called

Why is it that so called Christians use this space for a sparring match? The heart of a true Christian is filled with love, not anger. For Pete's sake, let it rest. This establishment knew it owed taxes and should have been taking care of its responsibilities. The punishment fits the crime. If they lose the building and contents, they can only blame themselves.

alden
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alden 07/23/08 - 08:38 pm
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It is all too obvious that a

It is all too obvious that a lot of you did not pass reading comprehension. Go back and read the article. Some ignorant business owners are in hot water because they failed to pay their sales tax bills. The IRS is not involved in this per the article. Sounds like this esteemed place of business has deprived Richmond County residents of quite a lot in taxes over the last two decades.

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