The Dawsonville Pool Room may be closed for now, but residents there aren’t likely to let it stay that way.
Messages fill the page of a Facebook group called “Save the Dawsonville Pool Room.”
“No one has given more to Dawsonville than Gordon has,” reads one comment. “I’ve never heard the man say ‘no.’ It’s time for Dawsonville to open up their hearts to a man that has had his open for this town for so long.”
“Ain’t no way this county is gonna let Gordon be put out of business,” reads another. “Give often and regularly to Save the Pool Room.”
The Georgia Department of Revenue seized Pirkle’s landmark restaurant at lunchtime Wednesday. According to a notice posted on the front door, the seizure stems from nearly $84,000 in unpaid taxes and fees.
Pirkle, who has been the owner since the mid-1960s, told the Dawson Community News that he had been working with the state to resolve the tax issue. He said the problems stem from issues he had with his former accountant, Warren Pennington.
In 2010, Pennington was found guilty on several felony theft counts in connection with funneling client funds intended to pay income tax liabilities. Pirkle said earlier this week that he thought the amount he owed was down to about $30,000.
Karen Reece, Pirkle’s daughter-in-law, felt so strongly about how the situation was handled, that she created a fund at First Citizens Bank of Georgia where people could donate to help Pirkle.
“I believe that what the government is doing and the way they went about it is 100 percent wrong,” she said. “He’s been dealing with this issue for a couple of years, attempting to get it straightened out.”
She and others had only positive things to say about Pirkle.
“He is such a community-serving man and he gave so much to this community,” said Michael Garrett, Pirkle’s grandson, who helped set up the Facebook page. “It’s unreal how much he’s given to each and every one of the people in the community.”
Both Reece and Garrett rattled off ways Pirkle had helped — providing food for those who lost loved ones, donating money to local sports programs and even helping people buy their first car or house.
“If you weren’t personally helped by him, you at least know someone that was,” Garrett said. “He’s just helped everybody.”
Reece wasn’t sure yet how much money the community had donated.
Jud Seymour, communications director for the Department of Revenue, said the next step for Pirkle would be to begin negotiations and maybe “set up a payment plan or an offer in compromise.”
“Once a compromise happens, they would be able to reopen the business,” he said.