A woman who gained national attention for her fight against the IRS over money seized from a restaurant she had operated in northwest Iowa has gotten some good news. The IRS seized nearly $33,000 from Carol Hinders in 2013.
Larry Salzman is an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which fought to help Hinders get back the money that was a part of her operation of Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food in Spirit Lake. “The government has filed a motion to dismiss its own case. They took depositions of Miss Hinders, sworn testimony, and afterwards, decided to drop it,” Salzman says.
Hinders operated the restaurant for 38 years and accepted only cash. Her frequent cash deposits caught the eye of the IRS and the whole ordeal began. Salzman says they are now working to have the case put to bed forever. “The government filed its motion to dismiss with what’s called ‘without prejudice,’ which means they are asking for the right to refile the case in the future if they would like to do so. It would also make it harder for Miss Hinders to get interest from the money that was seized,” Salzman says. “We’re filing our own papers to oppose that. We think it should be permanently dismissed and there is no basis for them to ever file it again.”
Salzman says they are happy the IRS decided to give the money back. “It’s good that the government has done the right thing, the case was baseless. Carol Hinders was just and innocent, hard-working restaurateur.” Salzman says the concern still remains about the way the IRS handled the case. “It’s one of the main problems of civil forfeiture, is that it allows the government to take money from people based on a mere suspicion, even if they never charged, let alone convict them of a crime. And they didn’t get away with it here, and we hope they don’t do it to others,” Salzman says.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is expected to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, and says he plans to pursue reform of the forfeiture law. Salzman says reform is needed.
“I know Carol would love to testify in front of a committee to tell here story and help the reform effort,” according to Salzman.
Salzman says Carol Hinders recently retired and sold the restaurant.