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The Utah Division of Consumer Protection is going to court to try to enforce a $10,000 fine against the owner of the former Beat the Bookstore franchise near the University of Utah.

The Atherton Group, the company that owned the franchise, was issued the fine in January, but never paid it, and the state has been unable to contact the former franchise owner, Zachary Neipp.

The fine was imposed because the store failed to issue refunds to customers after the store closed in October without giving notice to customers or the corporate company.

The Beat the Bookstore university location, formerly at 1330 E. 200 South, was a Beat the Bookstore franchise of the company that bought and sold used textbooks near college campuses. Beat the Bookstore closed its only company-owned store, the Salt Lake Community College location, in November, which the company said was unrelated to the closing of the U. of U. store.

The financial turmoil led to a foreclosure and recent sale of the parent company.

In December, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection issued an administrative citation to Neipp after two former customers filed complaints saying they had not received refunds after the store closed. The state warned that if the refunds were not made, the company would face a fine.

After the company failed to respond to the citation, the state issued a final order on April 4, requiring the company to pay a $10,000 fine.

According to the order, the company "failed to refund a deposit within a reasonable time, or 30 days, after a valid request for a refund."

Neipp also failed to pay the $10,000 fine, and Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Buckner filed a complaint last week in 3rd District Court.

Kevin Olsen, the director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, said the state was unable to contact Neipp, so the citation was sent to his business address and to his attorney, Steve Chambers. But Chambers said on Tuesday that he stopped representing Neipp in December, and has not heard from him since.

Beat the Bookstore's attorney, Jeffrey Thompson, said he has not heard from Neipp either.

Neipp's former phone number has been disconnected.

Thompson also said that the original lender for Beat the Bookstore, Next Stage Partners, recently foreclosed on the assets of the company, and it was sold to III P Asset Holding in a public sale. Next Stage is a Delaware-based venture capital fund. Thompson said the transaction was unrelated to the U. franchise's closure.

The 25 company franchises will not be affected by the sale, Thompson said.

"III P is currently operating the franchises and providing services to them," he said.

Eric Corrington, the owner of the Beat the Bookstore location at Utah State University, confirmed that his business is unaffected by the change in ownership.

Timeline of events

* October 2007: Beat the Bookstore near the University of Utah closes.

* Nov. 30: Company-owned Beat the Bookstore near Salt Lake Community College closes.

* Dec. 24: Utah Division of Consumer Protection issues a citation against The Atherton Group, the company doing business as Beat the Bookstore U. of U.

* Jan. 25, 2008: Utah Division of Consumer Protection orders The Atherton Group to pay a $10,000 fine.

* February: Company founder David Monk resigns from his position as president of Beat the Bookstore.

* February: Next Stage Partners, the lender for Beat the Bookstore, sells the company to III P Asset Holding.

* April 4: Utah Division of Consumer Protection files a complaint in 3rd District Court after The Atherton Group fails to pay $10,000 fine.