State regulations might prevent a planned visit to an Evans wine shop on Saturday by golf legend Gary Player.
The former Masters champion and winery owner currently intends to autograph bottles of his new Muirfield 1959 label at the Vineyard Wine Market, said shop owner Roger Strohl.
However, Strohl said on Monday that the event, scheduled for 3-5 p.m., could be cancelled due to the intervention of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Strohl said an agent with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division's regional office in Martinez contacted him last week and cited four regulations that might prevent Player's autograph session: manufacturers can't have direct contact with retailers; all of the state's alcohol sellers should have been extended the same offer by Player;, the event will encourage public consumption of alcohol; and Strohl should be charged a fee by Player to sign autographs at the store on Evans-to-Locks Road.
"This is crazy," Strohl said. "If you had 10 (accountants) out there to do your taxes, there would be 10 different ways to do them. I think there's also 10 different ways to read these laws."
Revenue department tax policy analyst Reg Lansberry said the only regulatory violations possibly committed by Strohl and Player that he is aware of concern Player's legal authorization to contact Strohl for Saturday's event.
According to the regulation cited by Lansberry, representatives of manufacturers must be authorized by the state to contact retailers to conduct business. To be a representative, a person must complete and file under oath an application for a $10 permit from the state tax commissioner.
Lansberry said he and his co-workers are "doing everything we can to expedite the paperwork in the entire process to make (Player's visit) happen."
Though he was unsure Monday how long it will take to complete the required forms, Lansberry said finishing them before Saturday is a "definite possibility."
"We're doing our best to be cooperative in every sense," he said.
State Rep. Ben Harbin said he was contacted by Strohl on Friday and intervened on his behalf with the revenue department. Harbin called it an oversight that wasn't "a big deal."
"The department was right in that he didn't have everything he needed, but it's such a gray area," Harbin said. "It should all work out fine and I hope that Saturday's event is a great event."
The Vineyard Wine Market is in Suite 2 at 4414 Evans-to-Locks Road. For information, call (706) 922-9463.
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