SANTA FE (KRQE) – City officials are taking action after Larry Barker’s six-month long undercover investigation on businesses offering bogus discounts.
A Santa Fe store now could be forced to close its doors.
Barker’s investigation two months ago showed sales are not always what they seem.
“Now, I’m doing real well with the store closing because everyone wants a great deal, you know,” said Amjad Nassar to customers in August of 2014.
He talked about closing the Anasazi Gallery just off Santa Fe’s historic plaza. That called for a “Going Out of Business” sale: 50 to 70 percent off.
Later, a “Grand Opening” sale for the store now called Anasazi Gallery Trading.
However, a KRQE News 13 undercover camera still found Nassar behind the counter and much of the same merchandise on the shelves.
“You are a different owner?” Barker asked Nassar.
“Different owner, different company. The new place is Anasazi Gallery Trading,” Nassar told him.
The business license for the old gallery lists Nassar’s name. The license for the new gallery, the same.
The city said that is a problem.
“It couldn’t possibly be a new business and that practice was deceptive and a misrepresentation,” said Zachary Shandler, assistant city attorney.
The city sent Nassar a notice that his business license is on the line. He has a license revocation hearing at a City Finance Committee Meeting on Monday, May 4 at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.
“We want business people to follow the rules and to be applied uniformly and if people are lying on business applications, that’s not fair to their fellow residents their fellow business people,” Shandler said.
KRQE stopped by the gallery to talk to Nassar.
“I have an attorney right now but without my attorney being present, I wouldn’t be comfortable,” Nassar said.
He did go on to say that the city has it all wrong.
“I was never the owner,” he said. “I was part of the corporation. My brother was the president of that company. He wanted out. I ended up staying, opening my whole new business—a whole new corporation.”
That is something he will have to convince city officials of or else, he will be putting up another “Going Out of Business” sign at the door.
If the City Finance Committee recommends revoking Nassar’s license, the question will then be put to the full City Council.