Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami

It was released today that Mike Ilitch’s pizza and entertainment businesses owe the City of Detroit over a $1 million in back taxes going back to 2009.  Mike Ilitch, is owner of the Little Caesar’s Pizza chain, the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Questions arose today in Lansing about Olympia Entertainment’s financial obligations as members of the legislature debated a plan that would allow local local taxes to be used to fund a $650-million stadium for the Red Wings arena.  The plan calls for the stadium to anchor a retail shopping and housing district.

According to the Detroit Free Press, a spokesperson for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. said, “The lease between the City of Detroit and Olympia Entertainment for Joe Louis Arena expired in June 2010. A new lease is being discussed and the intent of both parties has been to have the taxes in question reconciled when the new lease is renewed.”

According to the Free Press it was unclear why the taxes weren’t paid or which part of the adjoining Cobo Hall which is listed under a different tax identification the tax bill was referring to.

“The tax documents, dated Dec. 10, show that the Ilitch family’s Olympia Entertainment, for years an engine of stability and growth in downtown Detroit showcasing the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers and the Fox Theatre, is in arrears $971,482.52 on property taxes on the two riverfront properties, with another $58,162.53 due next month. City records show no payment has been made toward the delinquent taxes as of today.

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