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Architectural firm A2SO4 ordered to cease operations

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A2SO4 Architecture LLC, one of the city’s largest architectural firms, has been forced to temporarily cease operations because it allegedly owes the state more than $43,300 in delinquent taxes.

Signs posted on the doors of the firm’s Union Station offices by the Indiana Department of Revenue indicate the state has revoked the firm's retail merchant certificate, which authorizes companies to withhold sales and employee payroll taxes.

Without such a certificate, businesses cannot legally operate. 

Phone calls to A2SO4’s 300 S. Meridian St. offices were not answered Tuesday.

Department of Revenue spokesman Bob Dittmer said the agency is not permitted to discuss the financial specifics of an individual taxpayer.

However, Marion County Circuit Court records show the state on Feb. 4 filed nine tax warrants against A2SO4 totaling $43,304.

In general, the DOR does not revoke retail merchant certificates without extensive attempts to first seek a resolution with a taxpayer, over “at least” several months. Dittmer said. “We don’t undertake doing this lightly,” he added.

A2SO4 was founded in 2001 by architects Sanford Garner and Vop Osili, who are among relatively few black architects in Indiana. In recent years, the firm had about 20 employees.

Osili, an Indianapolis city-county councilor, left A2SO4 in 2010 to run for Indiana secretary of state. Osili said he sold his interest in the firm in March 2011.

“I have not been involved in the business of A2SO4 in any way for nearly three years, so I have no idea what has happened,” Osili said Tuesday.

A2SO4 ranked as the city’s 11th-largest architectural firm in IBJ’s Book of Lists, with 2011 billings of $3.4 million.

Managing principal Garner in 2011 told IBJ that billings during a rough economy in 2010 fell about $1 million, or about 20 percent, though he said the firm remained profitable.

More recently, A2SO4 was preparing to move its headquarters to a former Catholic church at the southwest corner of College Avenue and North Street, near the Lockerbie neighborhood. It planned to spend about $1 million rehabbing the 11,000-square-foot building, which is larger than the 9,000 square feet A2SO4 occupies in Union Station.

Among the firms’ design work is a new parking garage for the new Wishard Hospital, a series of five-story buildings to surround Barton Tower and several projects at Indianapolis International Airport.

A2SO4 recently performed design work for a renovated international arrivals building and for a new roof at the former United Airlines maintenance center at the airport. Those projects are now in the construction phase.

Garner was honored in 2011 by the American Institute of Architects as one of 11 national recipients of the 2011 AIA Young Architects Award.

He previously served as president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization of Minority Architects.

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  • Ouch
    This is unfortunate. I feel bad for their employees, not the company owners. I am sure the State would have worked with them on payments, they obviously tried to ignore it hoping it would go away. Now 20 people are impacted. I understand they have also stolen from employees 401k....that has got to be not only unethical but illegal!
  • Re: Balthazar
    Balthazar, I think it's fair that the IBJ report both the goods AND the bads of a firm. They did not post anything that was not verifiable by the reporter. As well, he even added links to all of the GOOD articles about A2 that had been written in the past. As a new outlet that has bolstered A2 in the past, to prove they aren't biased, they need to also report when there is negative publicity.
  • Conveniently Excluded
    My recollection is that A2SO4 (another cute architecture firm name in the lineup of far too many in Indy) had strong ties to RW Armstrong, and yet no mention of this in the article. Follow the money....
  • Why Publish?
    Even as a competitor to A2, I wish them no ill will, and I hope that they are able to see thru this. As Peabody suggests, this economy has a lot of companies in challenging straits, so let's not take glee in one company's predicament lest you find yourself in similar circumstances at some point. You also have to wonder why IBJ feels the need to publish a potentially brand-damaging expose such as this.
  • pot calling the kettle
    just last year the state found $500 million it forgot to pay or use. and the people in that farce all kept their jobs or moved on to more lucrative jobs. so if true is this really the only firm doing business this way? doubt it.
  • A4bs02
    These guys had been freeloading on the shoulders of a successful AEC firm for years. The suits and puffed chests fooled few. A collection nightmare too. Adiós
  • Theft
    I heard they have been stealing from their employees and all I can say is what goes around comes around. I beleive this article is just the tip of the iceberg, and more will come out during the investigation.
  • Keep Your Head Up!
    It breaks my heart to see such a truly, wonderful, and magnificent humble and giving person fall on hard times. Sanford this to will pass. Keep the faith!
  • FYI
    A2SO4 owes a whole lot more than $43,300 to its subconsultants for services provided on past projects! The State of Indiana should consider itself fortunate.
    • oops
      Just an oversight, surely.

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