Archive for Monday, August 20, 2007

Baker fraternities haven’t paid property taxes

August 20, 2007

Two Baker University fraternities are on a Douglas County list of individuals and organizations that are delinquent on their 2007 property taxes.

Delta Tau Delta and Sigma Phi Epsilon still both must pay half of their 2007 taxes, in the amount of $2,691.06 for Delta Tau Delta and $3,215.12 for Sigma Phi Epsilon. This is the first time that Delta Tau Delta has been delinquent, according to the Douglas County Treasurer's office. But Sigma Phi Epsilon has been late paying its taxes each year since 2003, said Stacy Kurtz, director of taxation and accounting.

While the public notice of delinquent taxes warns that any property listed could be sold at auction as soon as September, even when the property is worth far more than the past-due taxes, the reality is it takes years of nonpayment before the county takes such action, said county treasurer Paula Gilchrist.

"It's at least three years before we start tax foreclosure proceedings," Gilchrist said. "Typically it comes down to notification."

Gilchrist also said that if it does come to foreclosure, "the amount that's due is superfluous." Even a bill in the thousands could mean a property will be sold. Gilchrist said it's not uncommon for auctions to actually raise less than the tax bill, let alone the value of the property.

All fraternities and sororities at Kansas University are paid in full.

When reached this week, Bob Andrews, chapter adviser for Delta Tau Delta, said that he was aware that there were some back taxes, but not the extent of it. When told the amount, he indicated he expected the fraternity could pay them off virtually immediately.

"That's not bad at all," he said of the $2,600 his chapter owes. "I've seen a lot worse as an attorney. I think we should be able to get that straight. I think we've got the money to pay it."

Andrews said there have been some problems with the fraternity, and the national office has appointed him to go in and get things straightened out. Andrews did not specify what sort of problems the fraternity had been having.

As for Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kurtz said that the fraternity has a history of paying taxes late. It paid its 2003 taxes in July 2004, when the final amount was due in May. It paid the 2004 taxes in November 2005, when they were due in December 2004. The 2005 taxes, which were due in May 2006, were not paid until November of that year.

Kurtz said the county has no contact for Sigma Phi Epsilon and messages left by the Journal-World with the chapter adviser on file with Baker University, Tyler McLenon, as well as with the bookkeeper listed on the fraternity's 2006 federal tax return, Scott Hughes, were not returned.

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