Many well-known businesses failed to pay their 2012 property taxes on time, including some that have been in the news for financial problems — Trolley Square Associates, Lehi Roller Mills and prominent developer Terry Diehl.
While several local politicians usually appear on such delinquency lists, only one was found this year — House Majority Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who is also chairman of the Utah Transit Authority board. (Diehl is a former member of the UTA board.)
Property taxes are due every year on Nov. 30. Counties are required by year’s end to list who missed that deadline. Delinquent 2012 taxes in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis and Weber counties amounted to $84.4 million overall, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis of online lists.
Those who miss the deadline face a penalty of 2.5 percent plus interest, which is 7 percent this year. If taxes are not paid within five years, counties auction off the property to collect the unpaid tax.
At the top of 2012 tax delinquency lists is $347,816 owed for the Lehi headquarters of Xango, a multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional supplements — which has its name on the uniforms of Real Salt Lake soccer players. That property is owned by Thai Properties, which is part of the same corporate group as Xango, said Nate Brown, chief financial officer for Xango.
He said the company plans to pay the taxes by the end of the month. By state law, the penalty is only 1 percent of the tax owed plus interest for delinquents who pay by Jan. 31, instead of 2.5 percent.
Brown adds that the company delayed payment not because of financial difficulty or oversight, but “because companies look at the interest rate and say that’s a very nominal rate, the county gets more money, and the company utilizes the money to make year-end investments.”
Developers • Delinquency lists are always top heavy with land developers who also look at the interest on unpaid tax as a relatively cheap loan. Diehl — who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, owing creditors more than $43 million — acknowledges that he did that with the $223,881 owed on his Cottonwood Estates Development, also known as Tavaci, at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Proposed development there has been controversial.
“The last five years in the real estate side have been as difficult as we’ve seen it,” he said. “Instead of capping bank loans or lines of credit, it was just as cheap to use this as a loan. We fully intend on paying it in full” before it would go to auction after five years.
Lists also showed Diehl owed $25,544 on property in his name, mostly on his $2.1 million home.
He said his mortgage holder should have paid that with money from house payments put into escrow, and he would research why it was not paid on time.
Hughes, the only major politician on 2012 delinquency lists reviewed by The Tribune, was late paying $4,303 in tax on his $515,000 home.
“It was just an oversight,” Hughes said. “It has since been paid.”
Two other legislators — Reps. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, and Mark Wheatley, D-Murray — also appeared on the list for apparently not quite paying all their taxes, falling about $20 short each. Both said they thought they paid their full bills and are not sure why lists show them as $20 short.
Financial troubles • Others besides Diehl who have been in the news for financial trouble also appeared on the delinquency lists.
For example, Trolley Square Associates was delinquent with $224,382 in tax, fifth highest among all entities. In November, Bank of America filed a lawsuit alleging Trolley Square Associates had defaulted on $57 million in loans.
Also, Lehi Roller Mills was on lists for $43,413 in 2012 late taxes.
The 107-year-old mill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Dec. 6. Documents showed that it owes about $11 million to its largest 20 unsecured creditors.
Other top delinquents, according to Tribune analysis, included Mesaba Airlines at No. 2, owing $251,189 in 2012 tax. It ceased operations last year and had flown in some areas under the name of Delta Connection.
No. 3 at $250,895 was a building in Springville used by SupraNaturals, another nutrition supplement company. That property’s owner is listed as TEM Properties. When SupraNaturals was asked what relationship it has with TEM, officials offered a “no comment.”
No. 4 at $247,591 was a Salt Lake City plant of Hunter Douglas, a manufacturer of blinds and other window treatments. The property owner is listed as REVX 86 LLC. Calls to Hunter Douglas were not immediately returned.
Others that may be familiar on lists with large amounts owed included: SecurityMetrics Building in Orem, $157,969; Singh Petroleum, operator of many convenience stores, $155,126; Peery Hotel in Salt Lake City, $92,204; Amalgamated Sugar Co. in Ogden, $47,201; and Syracuse Stadium Cinemas, $45,290.
Here are the largest 2012 property tax delinquents, according to lists from Salt Lake, Utah, Davis and Weber counties.
1. Xango headquarters in Lehi, $347,816
2. Mesaba Airlines, $251,189
3. SupraNaturals building, owned by TEM Properties, $250,895
4. Hunter Douglas plant, owned by REVX 86 LLC, $247,591
5. Trolley Square Associates, $224,382