The Ithaca Gun phone number has been disconnected and the company's parking lot is empty, but a member of the management team said the business has not ceased operating.

Whatever is going on at Ithaca Gun, the firearms maker has generated plenty of rumors and phone calls.

Cynthia Aikman, the executive director of the Auburn Industrial Development Authority, has not been able to reach any company officials.

Ithaca Gun had moved from its longtime home in King Ferry to the former Johnston Paper plant on Allen Street in late April. The company announced its arrival at the May 5 Auburn City Council meeting and said it was employing about 50 people.

But in recent days the company's phone lines - both the old number in King Ferry and a new one in Auburn - have been disconnected. The company's Web site has also been taken down.

And there has been no official word released by the company.

The Citizen heard from a gun owner frustrated because the company was repairing one of his guns and he was unable to find out what has happened to it. Aikman's telephone was also busy.

"A lot of people are calling, and I don't have answers," she said.

Billy Weston, the company's director of sales, said Ithaca Gun is not closing down permanently. He said he could not provide too many additional details, but said the company has gone into an operational hiatus as it transitions into its new site.

A lone Ithaca Gun van sat in the parking lot at the Allen Street building on Thursday afternoon.

Although Aikman is concerned about the company's future, she stressed that it did not receive any financial incentives from the city to relocate.

"The company moved here because they thought this would be a good location for them," she said.

Ithaca Gun had outgrown its former site, a converted school on Route 34B, where it had been for 17 years.

The 124-year-old company's financial struggles in recent years have been well-documented.

Ithaca Gun Company earlier this year had a $12,000 judgment filed against it by a Watertown educational television station because the gun manufacturer had agreed to underwrite a hunting show, but never paid. Several other judgments were filed against the company for unpaid bills as well and there were problems with the state Department of Labor regarding unemployment insurance payments. The labor department said in February the issue was being resolved.

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