East Chicago, Ameristar Reach Tax Deal

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Ameristar Casino East Chicago has reached a settlement with the city and Lake County over disputed property tax assessments. Under the agreement, the casino will receive a total of $5.7 million in tax credits through 2016.

August 30, 2013

News Release

The Lake County Assessor and the City of East Chicago, along with its Redevelopment Board of Commissioners have reached a settlement with Ameristar Casino East Chicago to resolve all pending property tax appeals and to set an assessed value for Ameristar’s real property through 2015. This comprehensive settlement assures Lake County a steady stream of tax payments from Ameristar and provides certainty for Ameristar on the assessed values for its Indiana property for the next several years.

The Agreement resolves Ameristar's real property appeals for the years 2008-11 and determines the assessed value for Ameristar’s real property at $85,000,000 for 2012-2015. The values originally assessed on the Riverboat complex for the years 2008-11 caused Ameristar to appeal the assessment for each of those years contending that the values were actually much lower and seeking refunds totaling approximately $15,500,000, plus interest.

Since Ameristar paid real property taxes on the basis of a substantially higher assessed value for these prior years, the Agreement refunds Ameristar a portion of those payments in the form of a credit of $1,425,000 per year against taxes otherwise payable in 2013-2016. These credits total $5,700,000 which is more than 60% less than the tax refunds Ameristar sought to recoup in the appeals. Ameristar’s real property includes its riverboat casino, hotel and retail pavilion.

Ameristar has also agreed to dismiss all pending personal property appeals concerning its gaming equipment and not to file a new appeal for tax year 2013. The existing assessments will thus remain in place.

The Settlement Agreement is a compromise of the parties’ prior positions, and will be submitted for approval to the Indiana Board of Tax Review shortly. The agreed assessment for future years is sufficient to pay the base value to the City of East Chicago as well as to assist the Redevelopment Board in making payments on financial obligations existing in its redevelopment district.

These tax appeals have been pending for some time. The Lake County Assessor and the City of East Chicago along with the Redevelopment Board are pleased that all matters have been resolved on a basis satisfactory to all parties.

Mayor Anthony Copeland issued the following statement:

"This was a financial bullet during turbulent times that we have dodged. When do you hold them or fold them. If the city had to pay its share of $16 million plus interest, it would have been a financial disaster. As Mayor of the City of East Chicago, I am proud that we have cleared another financial hurdle."

Source: City of East Chicago