Has everyone read the stuff on the Mille Lacs News Online about the Nexus property tax disputes? If you haven't, you should.
Now, normally I'm not the kind of gal who enjoys a rip-roaring discussion about taxes. (Yawn). But I find the Nexus situation quite fascinating - worthy of a Grisham novel for sure, should he be interested... It's a tale of intrigue with a wonderful, complex plot.
Let's begin with this: The Mille Lacs Messenger (the official newspaper) reported on more than one occassion, that Nexus is Property Tax Exempt.
This is false information, which they have yet to correct in their paper, leaving everyone who reads that crap to keep on believing that crap. They are misleading us, to say the very least. (Is there some sort of conspiracy, Mr. Grisham?)
If you haven't read the Mille Lacs News (oh for shame!), I'll try to summarize the situation for you. For years, Nexus has been seeking Property Tax Exemption. And they keep getting turned down because they don't qualify under the laws in Minnesota. "So what?" you say... Well, I say "what".
The bottom line is: If Nexus had to pay property taxes on their new 10 million dollar facility, they'd kick back (Oh my! Did I say "kick back"?) well over $300,000 per year into the community. Onamia would receive over $100,000 per year, AND YOUR TAXES WOULD GO DOWN! (Check it out on the Mille Lacs News Property Taxes page or research it yourself if you don't believe them.)
Why doesn't anybody want you to know this?
Why have they continued to mislead you? Always follow the money. I can understand Nexus' motivation. By not paying their property taxes, they would save a heck of a lot of money. But who, besides Nexus, benefits if they don't pay their property taxes? You and I certainly don't benefit. In fact, you and I are already supporting Nexus with our own tax dollars. Its our tax dollars which already subsidize Nexus. (That's how they exist... They live off of us. Kind of parasitic when you think about it.) Why would Mayor Larry Milton and the Onamia City Council continue to lie and mislead the People while pushing for that huge tax exemption for Nexus, especially when that money could benefit the town? It makes no sense... (Enter Mr. Grisham on THAT bit of intrigue...)
If you'll read the letters from the senior appraiser at the Minnesota Department of Revenue, (public information which is available for viewing on the Mille Lacs News Online) you'll find the answers as to WHY Nexus does not qualify for property tax exemption. And here the plot thickens.
Me, Myself, and I
Nexus has split itself into two companies: Nexus Corporation and Nexus Diversified Community Services. Doesn't that sound swell... "Community Services..." Indeed! Both of these branches have the same CEO (Jim D'Angelo), the same CFO (Alan Norby), the same Board of Directors, and the same address at corporate headquarters (in Golden Valley, MN). hmmm...
Part of the property tax exemption requirements for a non-profit organization include CONTRIBUTIONS. Now get this:
Nexus Diversified Community Services donated over $300,000 to Nexus Corporation, and then Nexus Corporation turned around and donated over a million dollars to Nexus Community Services.
AND NEXUS CLAIMED THESE "SELF-DONATIONS" IN THEIR PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION APPLICATION!!!
But they got caught... Property tax exemption denied, denied, denied.
Nexus' excuse? Nobody else would donate to them.... Check it out. It's true.
Think of it like this: You take fifty cents out of your left pocket and move it into your right pocket. Then you take a dollar out of your right pocket and move it into your left. Then you say: "Look at me! I made a buck and a half today in contributions!"
Does that work for you? I doesn't work for me. It stinks a little, don't you agree? Smells a little "off". What would happen to Joe Citizen if he gave his wife a large "donation" and then tried to write it off on his taxes? Wouldn't they call that (drum roll....) "Tax Fraud"?
Don't ask me. I'm not financially savvy enough to figure out the ins and outs of any such complex, big-money scheme. I'm just a simple country gal. But if one examines some of the available information, one can't help but speculate.
Just think of those fine folks down at "corporate" shuffling all that money from pocket to pocket. They have a 38 million dollar per year budget to play with. Yes, 38 million. AND for a non-profit organization, they sure make huge profits. Over a million dollars in profits last year (that they reported...) Out of all of the juvenile sex offender treatment programs in Minnesota, Nexus is one of, if not THE most expensive. (Another reason they don't qualify for property tax exemption, according to the Minnesota Revenue, is that they charge too much for their "services".)
And think of how convenient it is if one of their pockets makes a little too much profit to continue to be defined as "non-profit". A simple solution: Just move the money to the other pocket for awhile and call it a "contribution".
Now do you see why I'm calling on Grisham? Maybe it's simply a case for the Attorney General or the IRS, but this story has all the makings of a great book or movie. (I just loved the Rainmaker). I'd cast John Lithgow as D'Angelo... I've never met Norby, but I'd cast Malkovich in that role... They both play such good villains.
Now here is an interesting idea... A little "side trip". The senior appraiser at the Minnesota Revenue, (the one Mille Lacs Academy's new Executive Administrator Paul Smith asked all of the employees to call and express your support that Nexus receive property tax exemption), has also indicated that Nexus does not qualify as a CHARITY. hmmm.
Nexus does not qualify as a charity? Wow.
Yet, both Nexus Corporation and Nexus Diversified Community Services (which, I don't need to remind you, is the same pair of pants) are listed on the Minnesota Attorney General's website as a "charity", and those misleading self-contributions are listed as if they were real donations.... from real donators.... Holy Moly! Maybe someone should look into this! Perhaps Nexus is bamboozling more than just the fine folken of Mille Lacs County.
Maybe they don't qualify for ANY tax exemption.
Could the Nexus Corporation be using those poor, troubled boys in some sort of a scheme to make a fortune for D'Angelo and his corporate cronies?
I know that the good employees at the Mille Lacs Academy (and this is said without sarcasm, by the way), are dedicated to the work that they do, and really care about the teenagers they are trying to help. I admire them for that. (They should get paid more too.) But what about Janet Benway, the elite chairperson of the Nexus Board of Directors?
"Janet Benway, CLU, ChFC, CFP, is a senior financial advisor for American Express Financial Advisors in Wayzata, Minnesota. Janet's expertise in financial planning allows her to help her clients achieve their financial objectives, prudently and thoughtfully, through a long-term financial planning relationship."
I got that from the Nexus website, if anyone is wondering.
Sounds like the Chairperson of the Board knows a lot about money. I wonder how much she knows (or cares) about juvenile sex offenders. But one thing is clear.
These financial wizards at Nexus no doubt know a lot when it comes to playing "pocket pool".