3800 Washington

With $10,856,672.77 in state income tax past due, San Francisco’s Halsey Minor, the co-founder of CNET and current owner of the mansion above, has once again topped the list of the Top 500 Delinquent Taxpayers in California.

As plugged-in people know, Mr. Minor recently cut the list price for his Presidio Heights mansion and two adjacent parcels to $21 million, a million dollars more than he paid for the real estate in 2007 with a loan for $9 million to which a second for $3 million was added in 2008.

As a top 500 delinquent, Mr. Minor is at risk of losing his driver’s license as well.

18 thoughts on “Mansion Owner Minor Tops The List Of California Tax Delinquents”
  1. Oh the irony that you can lose a driver’s license for white collar financial misdeeds but not for killing people with your car (cuz they’re just “accidents”).
    Why can’t the tax authorities just seize these properties and sell them to satisfy the debt?

  2. 1. How does this affect parking on Polk street?
    2. Does he ride a fixie?
    3. The city can sell the property to recoup property taxes. Jerry Brown and everyone else can suck it.
    4. Madlibs: The politics of this situation would be totally different if instead of being a dude who made a bunch of money, the person who owed money was a (please fill in the blank). Vegetables and endangered species are not acceptable answers.
    5. Also appearing on the list of delinquent payers are Marlon Buttram, and Peter Butzloff.*
    6. Haterz.
    7. Taxes are for the little people. – Leona Helmsley.
    *I am not making this up. Click on the link and verify.

  3. The thing is, Leona Helmsley was sentenced to something like fifteen years in federal prison and only really served about two.
    So you can imagine if the state, which can’t even manage to keep violent felons and drug dealers behind bars because we can’t afford to build comfortable enough prisons to satisfy tsk, tsk-ing federal judges, managed to criminally prosecute Minor and get a conviction.
    He’d probably walk away with probation after a few weeks.
    I agree with Milkshake, the best way to address this given the current fiscal situation in the state would be for The FTB to seize this place and sell it at auction, and forward any proceeds after the satisfaction of the tax debt to The City.

  4. Steven Seagal is on the list for $344k.
    I’m guessing some of these people are on the list because they are in disputes with the FTB over where incomes was earned, or how it is classified, or other complex tax issues.

  5. ^Having just completed our 2012 taxes, I’m convinced there are nothing but “complex tax issues.”

  6. I am sure it started as a smallish debt and he couldn’t pay. It probably had something to do with unrealized income… i.e. income he never actually had. Makes it hard to pay!
    Well, wait a few years and with the huge penalties you are pretty much – screwed.

  7. The state claims he owes the money. It may be in litigation and/or he may not have the funds to pay the bill. He has not been found guilty of willful tax evasion. At some point, the property can be seized by the government.

  8. Certainly the legal authorities should grant Minor the benefit of the doubt.
    But for our discussion purposes here, is it likely that this is all just the result of a technical dispute “…over where incomes was earned, or how it is classified, or other complex tax issues”?
    I kinda doubt it. He’s pulled this kind of thing in other parts of the country. From The Washington Post in May of last year, The sorry fate of tech pioneer Halsey Minor and historic Virginia estate Carter’s Grove, a long form journalism piece which resists easy quoting about Minor’s purchase of a historic home in Virginia:

    Though he already had a country house near Charlottesville, Minor bought Carter’s Grove in 2007 intending to make it his part-time residence and a thoroughbred farm…Moreover, a splendidly renovated Carter’s Grove would have been a fitting stage from which Minor might launch a long-hinted run for the Virginia governorship.

    But Minor never moved into Carter’s Grove. It has sat empty and neglected for years. The historic treasure is falling apart.

    In February, inspectors from Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources found a leaking roof, broken climate-control system, pervasive rot, cracked paneling and indications that the house is shifting and may be unsound.

    “This deterioration has now reached a critical level and is accelerating rapidly,” Minor was warned in a Feb. 24 letter. “Irreversible damage…has occurred.”

    It seems the decline of Virginia’s Georgian jewel is inexorably tied up in the declining fortunes of the imperious man who had such grand aspirations for both Carter’s Grove and himself. And in the wake of it all, a valuable and once-beautiful piece of American history is being lost.

    Like they say in the blogosphere, go read the whole thing.
    My reading of this is that this guy just got in over his head, was overleveraged even for a multi-millionaire, and what happened with this place (Le Petit Trianon) is that he didn’t know what to do when he ran out of money and borrowing capacity. I’d like to be able to make some crack about nouveau riche, but of course Minor’s family was already well-established upper crust before he was born.

  9. He knew exactly what he was doing. Minor took money from whatever source to keep his lifestyle looking like he was a billionaire when he wasn’t satisfied with having plenty. He took from Merrill Lynch, the tax payers, the hard working people of Charlottesville, Sotheby’s , Chirstie’s, his own legal counsel and anyone else then blamed them all for his problems. Carter’s Grove is a prime example. This guy belongs in jail. The FTB does not publish names if there is ANY “good faith” attempt to resolve the issue. Read the law.

  10. I owe 700k plus and am not on the list
    (hurts my feelings that i am not)
    Would make me feel better about my self
    here in my sro penthouse.
    At least i get demand letters from them every 6 mo.
    And they did raid my bank account 3 times in 12 months . Did not get much. I am now on a payment plan .

  11. DING, Ding, ding! We have a winner. From the Los Angeles Times earlier today, CNET founder Halsey Minor files for bankruptcy:

    Halsey Minor, the CNET founder who accumulated a fortune in the tech industry, has filed for bankruptcy in Los Angeles.

    In the personal bankruptcy filing May 24, Minor cited $50 million to $100 million in liabilities with 60 creditors, and assets of $10 million to $50 million.

    Among his listed creditors are the California Franchise Tax Board, the Internal Revenue Service, Bank of America, HSBC Bank and Sotheby’s Inc., among others.

    Last year, Minor and his wife, Shannon, were listed as California’s top income-tax delinquents, owing the state $10.5 million.

    Emphasis mine.
    As referred to above, Minor sold his stake in the news website CNET to CBS in 2008 for $1.7 billion. Let’s assume that he still has the top end of what he says he has in his (what I can only assume is a) Chapter 11 filing and has access to $50 million; that’s $1.65 billion spent (including taxes, etc.) over the course of just five years, not counting the amounts borrowed (“$50 million to $100 million in liabilities”) and still outstanding, no?
    At least he won’t be able to keep this home, and one of his creditors will get it, sell it, and The City will begin actually collecting property taxes on it.

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