Delaware Park Owner May Have Owed Back Taxes on Another Business
A company owned by the man who also owns Delaware Park has been delinquent on taxes, says the Delaware Division of Revenue. Bill Rickman, the owner of Delaware Park, is one of several gaming officials asking Delaware legislators for financial help, so the problem with the back taxes could become a major issue in the debate for more tax breaks.
The Delaware Division of Revenue has a list of delinquent taxpayers which can be accessed by the public. On that list is a company named Rickman Management LLC, which is owned by Bill Rickman.
Rickman Management Owed over $5,000 in Taxes
Rickman Management LLC owed the state of Delaware $5,057 in back taxes, penalties, and interest. Those taxes are owed by the 2009 tax year. In July 2013, state tax collectors won a judgment against the company.
For over a year since that judgment was rendered, the state has been unable to make Rickman Management pay its due taxes. During that same time, Bill Rickman has been one of three major casino owners who has been asking for the state legislature for $20 million in tax breaks.
Call for a $20 Million Bailout
Earlier this year, most speculation indicated that state officials would lower by perhaps $20 million taxes and application fees for Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Racecourse. When the issue was decided earlier this year, lawmakers decided to give a $10 million tax break to state gaming venues–which was termed a bailout.
Continuing Calls for a Bailout Bill
At the time, officials said they might have to revisit the issue, if the $10 million bailout did not solve the financial issues plaguing the state’s racetracks. Just last week, a panel was reconvened to study the issue, with the idea that nearly $10 million in tax breaks might still be needed for those three horse racing venues and racinos.
The panel is supposed to study whether each of the raceways should get a $3 million tax break on a once-a-year licensing fee. State lawmakers have supported those business owners who continue to ask for such a bailout, while all three have lobbied the government to receive breaks.
Why It Is a Serious Breach
If the list of delinquent taxpayers is current, then during that time, Bill Rickman’s company appears to have been unwilling to pay off its debts to another arm of the state government, if not outright refusing to pay. The issue is likely to cause outrage among proponents and opponents of the new casino bailout bill.
For most average citizens, paying a $5,000 bill in back taxes is no easy thing. It might not be easy for Rickman Management, either. But when a company deals in the millions of dollars each year, it is likely to outrage some that a bill numbering in the low thousands has not been paid. It would seem to show a certain contempt for the process.
Rickman Management Issues a Release
The unpaid tax liability might be a case of honest oversight. That’s what a statement released Friday from Rickman Management said. According to the statement, the first Bill Rickman heard about the outstanding debt was on Wednesday of this last week. At the time, he or one of his financial people immediately used a credit card to pay the taxes online.
The statement from Rickman Management went on to say, “We are actively researching the issue but in the interim, have paid the balance as a safeguard. If we find this charge has been made in error, then we will seek a refund from the state.”
State Officials Explain the Process
People at the state tax office told the Westport News that such an oversight is unlikely. According to the Delaware Division of Revenue, a company or individual does not appear on the list of delinquent tax offenders until repeated attempts to collect have been rebuffed and a court judgement is rendered against them.
The two sides may continue to dispute the issue, though the source of the dispute sounds eerily similar to the NFL’s argument in the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, which stemmed from an altercation at Revel Casino in Atlantic City last February.
After the NFL botched its suspension of Ray Rice, Commissioner Roger Goodell and his people said they never received a full videotape of the elevator incident. They also said repeated attempts were made to obtain such a videotape, but authorities refused to release the tape. Then a state police official played a tape from someone at the NFL front office, acknowledging the tape had been received at NFL headquarters in April. The NFL suggested the staff member who received any such video must have lost it, because no one in an authority position ever found it or watched it.
Mixup at the Office
Rickman Management might have the same issue. Someone at their office may have seen letter notifications, but somehow lost that correspondence in the office somewhere. The mail never got to Bill Rickman, it would seem.