JLF Piedmont Triad Blog

Big win for Billy Prim

Winston-Salem Dash owner Billy Prim gets the property tax on the BB&T Stadium lease reduced to …..drum roll—- zero.

Prim won an appeal before county’s board of equalization and review. Prim did not attend the meeting, but instead was represented by attorney Bart McLean:

Thursday’s argument wasn’t about the tax value of the stadium itself. That value has been set by the county assessor’s office at $48.2 million. No taxes can be collected on the stadium, however, because it is owned by the city of Winston-Salem.

But for the past two years, the city and county have together been collecting more than $300,000 in property taxes per year, calculated from the tax value of the lease that Sports Menagerie has with the city.

The lease is considered to be intangible personal property, and therefore, taxable.

The county tax office proposed setting the value of that lease at $26.45 million for 2013. But McLean argued that if the stadium is worth $48 million, and the lease is worth $26 million, then taken together, the value would be $74 million.

“That makes no sense,” McLean said.

McLean said that the value of the lease is zero because Sports Menagerie is paying the city more than the market rate of leasing the property, and he cited an appraiser’s report that came to that conclusion.

McLean argued that no “rational person” would take over Sports Menagerie’s lease for what the county says it is worth.

Review board member Bill White said he didn’t know what the right answer was in this case. Far as I can tell, nobody does.

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