Tarkanian’s past property tax troubles dog race for Congress

In the 1990s, Danny Tarkanian’s name began appearing as a registered agent or partner for Nevada real estate investment companies filing paperwork with the secretary of state’s office.

In some cases, Tarkanian was a silent partner with no day-to-day control of the company. In others, the law school graduate acted as the legal agent, receiving paperwork for the business. That could range from the annual renewal of the company registration to when legal action is filed.

Tarkanian also ran his own real estate investment firm, listing himself as president, secretary, treasurer and director of JAMD Inc. He was listed as the agent for the Tarkanian Family Limited Partnership, too. The general partners were his parents: famed former University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian.

During that decade of go-go real estate speculation, Tarkanian and the companies he was associated with didn’t always pay property taxes on time, becoming delinquent for one to five years and forcing Clark County authorities to hold at least a dozen parcels until the bills were paid.

In the end, Tarkanian and his real estate partners paid more than $23,000 in back taxes, interest, penalties and fees from 1992 through 2001, according to Clark County records.

Now that he’s running for Congress, Tarkanian is having to answer for such past financial foibles as well as his apparent new troubles in properly reporting some campaign contributions. He’s coming under the greatest scrutiny as the leading GOP candidate in a crowded field of nine Republicans in the primary race for Nevada’s newest 4th Congressional District.

"Maybe I missed some property tax payments," Tarkanian said. "I have no recollection of that since it was so long ago. And I was a passive partner" in some of the companies. "I would expect the Democrats to track me extremely closely and try to find whatever dirt they can to use against me."

CREDIBILITY AT STAKE

A Democratic operative pointed the Las Vegas Review-Journal to Tarkanian’s past property tax problems, suggesting it fits a pattern of poor financial practices by the businessman.

It’s also a legitimate campaign issue, said Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno who noted Tarkanian preaches low taxes and enjoys tea party support.

"If you’re running for public office and you’ve missed tax payments – particularly if you then decry tax policies in any way – you just don’t have a lot of credibility," Herzik said. "Missing tax payments or being late is not an un­common practice. … But it can be embarrassing when you run for public office."

Bentar Limited Partnership is an example of Tarkanian being an investment partner and resident agent for a real estate company he formed with close friend Amador "Chi Chi" Bengochea .

Neither Tarkanian nor Bengochea could recall being late on property tax payments in the early 1990s, although records show Bentar in 1993 paid $6,216.78 in delinquent property taxes, interest, penalties and fees on five of seven parcels Clark County held until the bills were paid.

Four of the parcels were two years late, and one parcel was three years late on property taxes, records show.

Bengochea, a Las Vegas real estate developer who went to college with Tarkanian at UNLV, said he can’t remember business dealings that far back. But he said Tarkanian wouldn’t have known about or been involved in any tax problems because he was a passive partner and investor.

Also, Bengochea said it’s quite common in the real estate business for closings to take months with property taxes going unpaid until a deal is done and the overdue bill is finally paid.

"All the property taxes were taken care of at the time of the sale," Bengochea said. "There were lots and lots of delayed closings. That was a tough (economic) time at that moment after the Iraq War. Danny would not have known. That would have been my issue to take care of those things."

One parcel Bentar owned on Danyelle Court, according to county and public real estate records, is a good example of how property can change hands, leaving taxes unpaid for years.

The Danyelle Court parcel was resold for $70,000 to Jerry and Lois Tarkanian . The couple then filed a "quit claim" to deed the land over to their son on Dec. 28, 1993. Two years later, Danny Tarkanian sold the parcel for $90,000 on Nov. 28, 1995, to a property management company.

By then, the county was holding the property until overdue taxes were paid.

Three days after selling the parcel, Tarkanian on Dec., 1, 1995, paid $4,510.20 in five years worth of back taxes, interest, penalties and fees to legally reclaim the property from the county.

Tarkanian said neither he nor Bengochea recalls those Danyelle Court transactions.

CANDIDATE ‘BOTHERED’ BY PENALITIES

The Tarkanian Family Limited Partner­ship, which lists his parents as general partners, also was late paying 1999-2000 property taxes on a parcel that was 40 percent owned by the partnership and 40 percent by Danny Tarkanian, according to Clark County records.

Tarkanian said he doesn’t recall owning the property, whose overdue taxes were paid in September 2000 by the First American Title Co. of Nevada with a $673.44 check.

In another case, Tarkanian was a 10 percent passive investor with former Las Vegas City Councilman Al Levy in Levtar Partnership, which had a total of 10 partners, according to Tarkanian.

Levtar was delinquent in paying 1992-1993 property taxes on one parcel, according to the Clark County recorder’s office. The county held the parcel until July 1993, when $1,051.13 in overdue taxes, interest, penalties and fees were paid. Levy died in 1997.

Tarkanian wholly owned JAMD Inc., so he was directly responsible for paying taxes on property the company owned. Records show that in September 2000 he paid $3,242.96 in late taxes, interest, penalties and fees on four parcels that were delinquent for the year 1999-2000.

A year later in September 2001, Tarkanian paid another $7,377.20 in back bills for one parcel that was two years delinquent, including for taxes, interest, penalties and fees.

Tarkanian said his records show JAMD Inc. had purchased the five parcels in March 1999, "so the late payment may have resulted from the close proximity to the purchase of the property."

He also said he may have missed some property tax payments because he had moved to Fresno, Calif., by then. In 1995, Tarkanian became assistant coach to his father at Fresno State. The Tarkanians moved back to Las Vegas about a decade ago after the older coach retired.

Tarkanian noted that he’s current on all his property taxes now, including on his home.

"Look, it bothers me if I have to pay any type of penalty," Tarkanian said when asked whether he’s current on his bills. "I certainly try to pay everything on time."

CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMPLAINT

As a U.S. House candidate, Tarkanian now is trying to avoid any penalty from the Federal Election Commission. The Nevada Democratic Party earlier this month filed a complaint alleging he had accepted some illegal contributions, including $500 from a corporation.

Tarkanian’s campaign said Friday it returned the contribution from Haig’s Quality Printing after reviewing his FEC filing with an attorney and accountant familiar with federal rules.

Democrats said Tarkanian also had not reported at least $66,000 in personal loans he had made to his campaign in 2010 when he ran for the U.S. Senate, losing the GOP primary to Sharron Angle.

He planned to file an amended FEC report, his campaign said.

Tarkanian also has another potential financial headache looming. It involves a $14.5 million loan his family’s Vegas Diamond Properties took out from a La Jolla Bank in 2007 for a real estate deal that went sour. A lawsuit is pending as the bank seeks its money and Tarkanian claims fraud.

Tarkanian lists it as a disputed liability on a financial disclosure form he filed with the House.

On the form filed April 5, Tarkanian and his wife, Amy, reported assets ranging between $296,000 and $890,000, held mostly in individual retirement accounts. And the couple reported liabilities of between $6.1 million and $30.25 million on mortgages taken out on three properties.

If Tarkanian wins the upcoming June 12 GOP primary, he will face Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Horsford, too, has past bill-paying problems dating mostly to his college days and his 20s after he racked up bills following a car accident and was sued for payment. He also has been criticized for attending a junket in the Bahamas with an online poker company that wants to do business in Nevada.

Herzik, the political analyst, said if the race comes down to Tarkanian against Horsford, the contest is sure to be a rough-and-tumble affair because both men have records open to attack.

"Horsford doesn’t necessarily have the cleanest record," Herzik said, adding the race may be one of the nastiest in Nevada in 2012. "It’ll be like watching a car crash."

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigating the new I-515 southbound to 215 Beltway ramp configuration
After opening at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, the new Interstate 515 southbound to the 215 Beltway westbound freeway ramp configuration caused confusion amongst motorist. Here’s how to navigate the new ramp. (Mick Akers/ Las Vegas Review-Journal).
A record breaking donation of nearly $9 million to Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada
A record breaking donation of property valued at nearly $9 million was made to the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada by the Charles and Phyllis M. Frias Charitable Trust. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal. @bizutesfaye
Kerry Clasby thanks the community for support after California fire damage
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about the lessons of accepting help as she has gone through the Woolsey Fire disaster, in which she lost many of her belongings. About 100 people were on hand for an event that raised about $7,000.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like