Friday September 7, 2007
It Could All Be Over...
Mille Lacs News Staff Writer
September 15 marks the expiration of the purchase agreement
between the City of Onamia and the joint owners of the 38 acres Nexus has
targeted for placing their sex offender facility. The large four building
institution was slated to be well-under construction last month, but the
project was delayed while Nexus searches for another way to avoid paying property
Because Nexus and the City of Onamia failed to get the deal
done by the expiration date, Steve Bye will be released from any obligation
to go through with the sale of this land that ignited the heated battle with
surrounding neighbors who adamantly oppose the placing of sex offenders in
their residential neighborhood.
"If Steve would just refuse to extend the contract,
everything could go back to normal," said a Nexus opponent. "He wouldn't be
out anything, and he'd be saving the neighborhood. This could all go away...
It could be over."
"We'll go along with whatever Steve decides," said joint-property owner Avis Grosslein of Falmouth, Massachusetts in a telephone
More Tax Trouble
Evading property taxes seems to be the latest trend. For the
past several years, Avis and her husband Marvin Grosslein have claimed
homestead on the vacant 38 acres in Mille Lacs County - in Minnesota as well
as on their home in Barnstable County - in Massachusetts. * Although it is
illegal to claim homestead on more than one property, by doing so the Grossleins kept the taxes on the property down to $60 last year.
"The taxes on the Bye property only amount to a load of
gravel," said Bradbury's Township Clerk. Back taxes, however, would amount
to a substantial amount of gravel for Bradbury Township.
Currently the Grossleins are listed as the owners. They are
also listed as having the same address as Steve. Steve Bye is listed only as
"It looks like it could be a case of tax fraud," said Thomas
Casey, attorney for the OACRG, a local organization of citizens opposing the
sex offender facility. It is unclear at this time if the tax issues with the
Grosslein property will further delay the Nexus deal.
More tax trouble is exactly what Nexus doesn't need. Mille
Lacs Academy Executive Director Paul Smith had indicated that if Nexus
didn't receive property tax exemption, Mille Lacs Academy, a sex offender
facility owned by the multi-million dollar corporation would leave the
state. However, after the Mille Lacs County Assessor upon recommendation by
the Minnesota Department of Revenue denied exemption, Nexus persistently
applied for tax abatement. Nexus CEO recently stated that if they do not
receive tax abatement, they will not build in Onamia. He said that they
couldn't afford to pay property taxes. (Nexus' 38 million dollar annual
budget doesn't include property taxes, apparently.)
Many residents are puzzled by D'Angelo's statement. The Mille
Lacs Academy charges more for their services than any other sex offender
facility in Minnesota (with the exception of one of the programs at Bar
None, which is only a few dollars higher than Nexus'.)
"I find it difficult to believe that Nexus would have any
trouble meeting its tax obligation. Mille Lacs Academy takes in well over
$20,000 per day. It wouldn't take many days to cover pay their taxes for a
year. Or, since they receive over $70,000 per year for each inmate, just
adding a few more could pay for the taxes," a Bradbury neighbor said.
Will it ever end?
Bradbury residents fully expect Steve Bye to sign the
purchase agreement extension. They said that several neighbors had tried to
convince him not to sell, because it will destroy the area and hurt so many
families. But how often do you get three times what your hayfield is worth?
"They made him an offer he couldn't refuse," said his
* Property tax information is public information,
available online and at the courthouse in Milaca. You can check out
information yourself on the
Mille Lacs County website.