In addition to being an entertainment district, Soulard apparently has morphed into a tax haven. Some owners of properties which house local entertainment/business establishments seem to feel that paying their property taxes is a low priority.
Those curious can visit the website described as that of the City of St. Louis Assessor’s Office, Property Database Search (http://stlcin.missouri.org/assessor/lookup.cfm). After entering an address, visitors have the option of going to "Tax Payment History - view summary," a database maintained by the office of Gregory F. X. Daly, Collector of Revenue. According to informatiion provided as of 7/6/09 at approximately 9 a.m., when we checked, property described as 1923-1931 S. 12th Street is in arrears on property taxes for three years. The bills are: 2006: $10,941.03; 2007: $9780.59; 2008: $8,839.03, or a total of $29,560.65. The property is owned by NTM Partnership LLC, located at that address, and the building is the home of Nadine’s Gin Joint, a bar and restaurant.
Similarly, the records indicate that 1027 Geyer owes $8,658.61 for 2006; $7,736.58 for 2007, and $6,991.58 for 2008, or a total of $23,386.77, as per the time we checked on 7/6/09. The records indicate that the owner of the structure is Great Grizzly Blues LLC, 2 Clara Ave., Webster Groves, MO. The building is the home of The Great Grizzly Bear, a bar and restaurant.
Another address is 2001-2003 Menard, the address of Clementine’s Bar - Oh My Darlin’ Café. The owner, as listed on the Assessor’s website, is Clementine, Inc at that address. They are in much better shape, with past due taxes listed for 2007 as $5,625.25 and for 2008 as $5,083.52. The total is $10,708.77.
Finally, we note that 1200 Russell Blvd owes $24,191.66 from the 2008 tax year, as per a check of the Assessor’s Office web site, also on 7/6/09 at approximately 9 a.m. Everybody knows that is the address of John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub. The owner is listed as McGurks-Soulard LLC, 2000 S. 8th Street. They make that much money in a half and hour selling booze on Mardi Gras Grand Parade Day or St. Patrick’s Day.
It should be noted that, according to the web site, the information on the web site is updated weekly.
Why is this happening? Do these property owners perceive that Soulard entertainment district businesses are too big - to important - to have to be bothered with keeping their property tax payments up to date? The coffers of the City of St. Louis are not overflowing with cash. St. Louis may declare a fiscal crisis so city government can furlough employees and eliminate jobs.
Did the 2009 Mardi Gras income not meet expectations? Was the neighborhood turned into a trash bin and a public urinal for nothing because some business owners were not satisfied? They didn’t make enough money from the debacle, so they sent the tax man a rain check?
Or is this just another manifestation of the attitude among Soulard entertainment property owners that they can write their own rules, just like they do for Soulard Mardi Gras and during the rest of the year, staging a peculiar string of phony festivals and corn ball events, all to boost liquor sales, all trampling on the quality of life of residents?
Why are property owners whose businesses make so many neighborhood people uncomfortable allowed to skate on their property tax bills, too?