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Company led by exec seeking Las Vegas NHL franchise wins tax incentives

A high-profile company that has made more news on the sports pages than the business section won unanimous support for tax incentives from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development on Thursday.

Fidelity National Financial Ventures expects to relocate its corporate headquarters from Jacksonville, Fla., to Las Vegas in the next few months and has identified sites in Summerlin for the move.

Fidelity, a diversified company with holdings in title insurance, payroll processing systems and restaurants, is headed by Bill Foley, who has led efforts to bring a National Hockey League franchise to Las Vegas.

Richard Cox, executive vice president of finance for Fidelity National, had no update about his boss’s bid to bring hockey to Las Vegas, but he said the company would continue to diversify when it moves to Southern Nevada. The company has 600 restaurants in 42 states, but none in Nevada. Peter Sadowski, executive vice president and chief legal officer for Fidelity, said that would change once Fidelity plants roots in the state.

The incentive package approved by the board would total $755,000, with sales taxes abated to 2 percent for two years, $225,900; the modified business tax abated by 50 percent for four years, $477,000; and personal property tax abated by 50 percent for 10 years, $52,100.

Unlike most applicants that qualify for incentives by offering large numbers of new employees, Fidelity qualified with its eye-popping average wage and equipment investment.

Because the company is moving its 20 top executives to Las Vegas, the average wage is $305.88 an hour, easily exceeding the statutory requirement of $20.62 an hour in that employment category.

The company also is investing $3.7 million exceeding the required $1 million investment. A 10,000-square-foot facility is planned.

Economic development analysts say Fidelity’s presence in Nevada would produce $11 million in new local and state tax revenue directly from the company and indirectly from support companies that would start up over 10 years.

Analysts say the state would benefit by $1,096 for every abated dollar.

“This is an extraordinary application,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval, who chairs the economic development board. “And it’s a really big deal for Las Vegas.”

Cox and Sadowski told board members about the company’s support of education in states where Fidelity has a presence.

The company is a corporate sponsor of the Folded Flag Foundation, which provides scholarships to families of soldiers who have died in the line of duty.

In other business, the board approved incentive packages for six other companies in rural locations across the state, from Storey County to Lovelock.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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