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Milwaukee: Delinquent taxpayer will not affect Marriott progress

Owners of the Pioneer Building, 625 Milwaukee St., Milwaukee, are behind in tax payments, according to city records. The building is slated to be razed to make way for a new Marriott Hotel. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

The owners of one of five buildings slated for demolition to make way for the proposed downtown Milwaukee Marriott Hotel owes more than $62,000 in delinquent taxes.

Officials say they aren’t worried. The taxman always gets his due, they say.

The building, located at 625 N. Milwaukee St., is known as the Pioneer Building. Its owner is listed as Milwaukee Nowi LLC of Fairfield, Calif., on tax records. The city places a fair market value of $2,252,800. Neither the owner nor a spokesman for the developer could immediately be reached for comment.

The records show that the 2009 tax bill of $62,275.83 was not paid. The 2010 bill of $60,859.48 is due Jan. 31.

Jeff Fleming, a spokesman for the city, said the issue would have been higher on the radar if the developers had been asking for assistance in the redevelopment project that will also include the razing of four other buildings.

The taxes on the other buildings are up to date, according to records.

“The city will have a lien against the property,” Fleming said. “Someone will be held accountable for the taxes at the time of sale.”

The delinquency will not affect the progress of the project, Fleming said.

James Klajbor, the deputy city treasurer, said the city was owed $38,035,680 in unpaid property taxes as of Dec. 31. Another $5,257,695 is owed the county for taxes on city property, Klajbor said. That’s a pittance of the total tax bill, but it’s up $1.6 million from the same time last year, he said.

The city is not sitting by idly, Klajbor said.

“The city has a three-phase enforcement action,” Klajbor said. “It starts with this office sending dunning letters demanding payment. Then we turn it over to a law firm and they send dunning letters. At the end of April, we go to court for property that is three years in arrears.”

If the owners don’t pay after the matter goes to court, the city can take ownership.

“We almost always get the taxes we’re owed,” Klajbor said.

— Marie Rohde

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