DeVos Family Members Busted For Claiming Bogus Tax Exemptions On Multi-Million Dollar Michigan Properties
The DeVos family owe their billion dollar wealth to family patriarch Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel.
DeVos and Van Andel skillfully mastered the art of the legally operating a pyramid marketing scheme when they created Amway in 1959.
The DeVos family have also become the second largest contributor to the Republican Party behind the Koch Brothers.
Betsy DeVos, the wife of Richard (Dick) DeVos, Jr. came under fire for openly bragging about “buying” elected officials:
“I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the single largest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Party. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.”
Betsy DeVos is also a former Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. She is currently Chairwoman of the Alliance For School Choice, a lobbyist group that advocates giving corporate welfare to private schools. The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation has also been spending heavily on efforts to privatize the public school system in the U.S. Betsy DeVos is known for her hostility to public education under the guise of pushing for “school choice.”
Cash-Strapped Michigan Pursues DeVos Family Tax Cheats
The Michigan Department of Treasury began performing tax audits on property owners claiming a 100% principal residence exemption. The exemption saves property owners who reside on the property from paying school district taxes up to 18 mills.
The audits have netted the state nearly $69 million for the school aid fund since 2013. Last year, the state audits found 10,294 properties had been illegally claiming exemptions. This is a 74% spike from 2012 and is due to the state expanding the audit from 48 to 58 counties.
The state focuses on individuals who own more than one property but receive exemptions on all of the properties. These properties usually include land owned by LLCs, vacation homes, and rental properties. The 2016 audit has already resulted in the state revoking the exemption on over 1,000 properties.
The DeVos Family Tried To Outsmart The Michigan Department of Treasury
The Michigan Treasury alleges Dick and Betsy DeVos were using part of their 100 acres in Ada Township for commercial purposes for the past three years. The compound worth $7.8 million includes a 17,000-square-foot home, 12,000-square-foot tennis club, and a convention center.
Stealing money from Michigan school children appears to be a family affair in the DeVos family. In addition to Dick and Betsy DeVos, Dick’s brother, Amway President Doug DeVos was also busted in December of last year. Doug and Maria DeVos tried to claim the tax exemption on their 29-acre property in Cascade Township.
Like his brother, Doug DeVos was also allegedly using part of their $5.6 million property that includes a 10,375-square-foot home and a 13,886-square-foot stable and equipment shops for commercial purposes.
The Michigan Treasury plans on making the DeVos brothers pay the back owed taxes for the years 2012-2015 along with interest and penalties.
The Michigan Treasury pursued another DeVos brother for attempting to illegally claim a tax exemption on his home in 2014. The state alleged Dan DeVos was using part of his 46-acre estate for non-residential purposes. The $7.8 million compound features a 13,494-square-foot home, underground parking garage, skating rink and beauty parlor.
Dan DeVos, the chairman of the Orlando Magic which is owned by his father, fought the Michigan Treasury. Dan DeVos argued he always used 100 percent of the property as his principal home. He won and as a result, the state reinstated the tax break in December 2015.