August 18, 2017 12:20 pm Last modified: 11:44 am

Properties Subject to Tax Auction Include DHS Offices, Which Are Delinquent in Rent

One of the owners facing auction for non-payment of property taxes to the Virgin Islands Government said the delinquency has been caused by a government agency that is behind in its rent payment, but the agency maintains its rent was current when the property taxes fell behind. It admits not making a payment yet this year.

Fast Foto, Inc. is one of more than 60 landowners that owe the V.I. Tax Office back taxes and its obligation is one of the largest, at $168,988. The property at 10 and 11 Estate Golden Rock is about three acres and holds 60,000 square feet of office space – including the Department of Human Service the commissioner’s office, business, personnel and other departmental offices.

Roger Kainth said DHS owes $265,000 (not $400,000 as reported in other media) for rent for the first six months of this year. As soon as it is disbursed, he said, he will be able to pay off the delinquent taxes. DHS has been in arrears before but has usually paid promptly for the buildings it has rented since the 1990’s, he said.

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Kainth said he is working out a payment plan with the government for the three or four years he said he is behind but believes the taxes will be paid in full before the June 29 auction date.

“It’s not going to be a problem to get the payments in. We’ll work it out,” Kainth told the Source.

Carol Burke, DHS public information officer, said the department paid more than $4.8 million in rent over the years while Fast Foto was falling behind in its tax obligations.

“Human Services Commissioner Felicia Blyden said Friday that the story as reported by the Daily News is simply wrong and misleading – Human Services does not owe $400,000 in rent and it is not responsible for Fast Foto’s failure to pay its taxes and to abide by the obligations all property owners are held to,” began a press release from Burke on Friday.

“We don’t have a lease but we’re going to pay them. We’re behind six months and the commissioner has directed staff to pay what we owe,” Burke said.

It is commonly known that the V.I. Government often does not pay its bills in a timely manner and owes substantial amounts to the V.I. Water and Power Authority and the Government Employees Retirement System. (See “Related Links” below.)

The St. Croix auction of 24 properties will take place beginning at 10 a.m. June 29 at the Benny and Martha Benjamin Foundation Conference Center at the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center adjacent to the Gov. Juan Luis Hospital.

On St. Thomas, the auction of 42 properties will be held July 6 at the Windward Passage Hotel Caribbean A & B Conference Room.

A list of properties is online at http://stthomassource.com/content/2017/06/07/public-auction-real-properties/

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