Friday, March 06, 2009

May Town Center Developer Gets Huge Tax Breaks Just for Being Family

NewsChannel5 reporter Phil Williams exposes the artificial financial advantages Belle Meade scion and potential Bells Bend despoiler Jack May has just for owning a business and developing property with family members:
[O]ur investigation discovered [the Family-Owned Non-Corporate Entities loophole] also benefited plenty of people around Belle Meade -- the people who appear in the society pages -- who've managed to keep all their money in the family.

Williams: "If I own a building with my best friend from college, it's taxable?" Williams asked [Revenue Commissioner Reagan] Farr.
Farr: "Correct."
Williams: "If I own it with my rich brother, it's tax free?"
Farr: "That's correct."
Williams: "What's the logic behind that?"
Farr: "There is none -- none whatsoever."

Last year, Belle Meade's Rep. Gary Odom, the House Democratic leader, pulled the plug last year on efforts to close the loophole.

"I could not get a clear answer last year as to how many businesses were going to be affected by it," Odom told Williams.

Among Odom's supporters, millionaire developer Jack May and his family own the Belle Meade Plaza, as well as several nearby office buildings.

The Mays are also behind the $4 billion May Town Center proposed for Bells Bend.

"I don't know who has a FONCE. Tax information is private information. It's confidential," Odom said.

"Have they ever discussed it with you?" Williams asked.

"No, sir."

Jack May did not return NewsChannel 5's phone call.

But Odom's own campaign treasurer, millionaire developer Bill Freeman, has acknowledged he's also taken advantage of the exemption to avoid state taxes on his real estate holdings.

Supporters of the FONCE law argue that sheltering mom and pop businesses are a good thing. But the glossy, corporate-looking May Town Center enterprise hardly appears to be mom and pop. The fact that they can promote, plan, and realize that concept tax-free ought to gall those who dutifully pay taxes and are not given special favors because of the accident of birth into rich families.

However, the May family is not the only one sponging off Tennesseans. Williams says non-Tennessean business owners, including a New York strip club sugar daddy are using FONCE as a tax shelter. Watch NewsChannel5's entire report:


  1. Yeah, we definitely don't want out-of-staters coming here, investing their money and our economy and running up the price of real estate. The horror!

  2. Bells Benders have made it clear they don't want it, Ace, and who are you to usurp their wishes?

    No, really, who are you?

  3. Just someone who is annoyed at the lack of understanding and the fact that the media is stooping to new lows, if that is possible, to push the Bredesen agenda. Just someone who realizes that every one of these LLC's bring in $300 or more in annual filing fees to TN. Just someone who knows that, prior to the exemption, most of these properties were held in general partnerships that also paid no tax (since we don't have a state income tax). Just someone who knows that these smart folks will unwind their LLC's and go back to being partnerships to avoid paying this tax. The real question is, why should someone who has a partnership (or owns property personally) be subject to tax solely because he decides to put the property in an entity. At the end of the day, repealing this exemption will cost TN money but what is more telling is how the morons at the Dept. of Revenue are playing the wealth-envy game to make it sound like TN is some sort of tax haven for wealthy out-of-staters. I for one welcome our wealthy overlords. Let them come here and prop up our real estate market. Let them come here and invest their money. The fact that our government thinks that is a bad thing speaks volumes about why this country is in the sad sack of crap that it's in.

  4. Mike you are incorrect about Bells Bender not wanting MTC. There are a few but not the majority. Most of the opposition is in Scottsboro.

  5. Giving each land owner one vote per parcel again, Richard? How many properties does Bells Landing Partners own? A half-dozen? A dozen? Do they get one vote per plot?