Hotel owners to pay $500K in back taxes

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The new owners of the former Grand Station Hotel have agreed to pay the City of Vicksburg more than $500,000 in back property taxes owed on the hotel property since 2011 under an agreement with the city approved Monday by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

No date was given when the taxes would be paid.

City Attorney Nancy Thomas said Vicksburg Hotel LLC, the company that bought the hotel, will also pay the back utility bills by June 15.

The past due property tax totals an estimated $529,146.06, which does not include penalties and interest.

According to claims filed by the city in the Grand Station Casino bankruptcy proceedings, Great Southern Investment Group Inc., the company which owned the Grand Station Hotel, owed an estimated $202,649.94 in back property taxes for 2011 and $191,996.12 for 2012. County records show the 2013 taxes totaled $134,500, Thomas said.

She said the new owners will also pay back taxes on the two parking garages that were deeded back to the city this month by Great Southern under an agreement signed in January that included the return of 2.95 acres of property at City Front that had been under lease and a $205,534 payment to the city.

Thomas said the property taxes on the parking garages were prorated, and the city would have had to pay the taxes had Vicksburg Hotel not agreed to pay them.

“Technically, when you prorate taxes, since we’re the owner, we would be taxed from now until the end of the year,” she said.

Financial problems forced the owners of the Grand Station Casino to close the business in March 2012, putting 230 people out of work. Delta Investments filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy laws to head off foreclosure. The bankruptcy status was later changed to Chapter 7, and the casino’s barge was sold for scrap.

Biloxi-based Vicksburg Hotel LLC bought the hotel on July 28 and has been refurbishing it. The hotel is expected to open May 8, Thomas said.

Besides back taxes and utility payments, city officials also sought an estimated $800,735 in rent for City Front through an agreement first inked in 1993 with Harrah’s, then inherited by Delta Investments from Tropicana Entertainment when it bought the casino in 2011. Thomas said the city doesn’t expect to collect the money.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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