Monday, June 8, 2009

Tribe In The Media: Mohegans Pay Property Tax In Palmer, Massachusetts

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The Palmer Republican, a newspaper in Palmer, Massachusetts, reported the following news over the weekend:

Mohegan firm late on taxes
by Nancy H. Gonter
The Republican
June 6, 2009

PALMER - The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which hopes to build a casino on 152 acres here, paid its quarterly tax bill 28 days late.

The check for more than $16,000 was received on May 29 and was due on May 1, according to town treasurer Melissa L. Zawadzki. The Mohegans were sent a demand notice $172.94 for the 14 percent interest and fees owed because of the late payment and paid it on Thursday.

The payment was made before the notice was received, but on the same day that inquiries were made by The Republican.

Paul I. Brody, vice president of development for the Mohegan Sun, said the late payment was made because in Connecticut there is a 30-day grace period to make the tax payment and Mohegan finance staff did not realize that did not exist in Massachusetts.

The Mohegan Sun casino is located in Uncasville, Conn., and leased the land between Thorndike Street (across from Massachusetts Turnpike Exit 8) and Breckenridge Street starting in October 2008 from Northeast Realty Associates LLC of East Longmeadow.

The plan is to build a $1 billion resort casino, but the state Legislature must first legalize gambling, a move which it is expected to consider in the fall.

Leon H. Dragone of Northeast Realty said the lease, which is for 50 years with optional extensions of 25 and then 24 years, calls for Mohegan Resorts Mass LLC to pay the taxes for the property. He said he was not aware of any late payment.

Zawadzki said the late payment was for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009. The Mohegans were charged 14 percent interest, plus a $10 fee for each of the four parcels, and a demand notice has been sent out.

Brody said the Mohegans will make timely payments in the future.

"We'll clean this up," Brody said.

"We will update our system so payments will be paid much earlier," Brody said.

The Mohegans paid their Feb. 1 tax bill on time, but their Nov. 1 tax bill was a few weeks late and they paid a interest and fees for being late, Zawadzki said.