Settlement amount part of governor’s $12.386M supplemental budget

Millard settles with CNMI govt

Gov. Eloy S. Inos confirmed that ComputerLand founder William H. Millard, once listed as among the richest people in America, entered into a tax settlement agreement with the CNMI government and the undisclosed amount is now a part of the governor’s $12.386-million fiscal year 2014 supplemental budget sent to the Legislature yesterday. But the settlement amount is just a tiny dot compared to the over $118 million that the CNMI claims to be Millard’s tax debts including interests from the early ‘90s.

The supplemental budget shows only $371,724 is from “personal income taxes” of prior years.

Any figure already excludes attorneys’ contingency fees, which the governor said is “30-some percent.”

Of the $12.386 million supplemental budget, $7.424 million is from gross revenue tax collection from prior years but were only recently collected, along with $700,000 in wage and salary tax from prior years, and $371,724 in prior years’ personal income tax.

“The first three categories [gross revenue tax, wage and salary tax, and personal income tax] related to prior year taxes that have recently been collected through aggressive collection efforts,” the governor said in his transmittal letter to the Legislature.

Inos said there was an “impasse” in the Millard tax case, but the CNMI government took the opportunity to settle with the technology mogul.

“And we know we’re not going to get $100 million from that claim…In fact, some people believe we’ll get zero from that thing. But we got whatever we got and that will be included in the supplemental budget,” Inos said in an interview yesterday morning.

The governor didn’t want to disclose the exact amount of the Millard settlement, along with the amount paid to New York-based law firm Kobre & Kim that the then-Fitial administration tapped to help in the tax case.

For more than 20 years, Millard was one of the world’s most elusive tax exiles until Kobre & Kim tracked him down on Grand Cayman Island in the western Caribbean in 2010.

Inos said the settlement was reached some three weeks ago and they just got the final settlement agreement document.

The governor said the CNMI was offered the Millard mansion and castle.

“But we said ‘no.’ We need the cash,” he added.

Millard sold his interests in ComputerLand Corp. retail chain for over $200 million while he and his family were living on Saipan decades ago.

Supplemental budget
There are nine sources of funding for the projected $12.386 million supplemental budget, including the gross revenue tax, wage and salary tax, and personal income tax.

The others are $1.5 million in excise tax, $126,000 in beautification tax, additional Marianas Public Land Trust interest-transfer out of $608,543, and $610,688 in reduction in MPLT transfer-out.

The government also received dividend distribution of $250,000 from its investment in UMDA.

Inos said $945,045 is net proceeds from the sale of the Mariana House in Washington, D.C. The CNMI bought the property in 1982 for $250,000.

As what he had been stating before, the supplemental budget is set aside for only two specific items—$5 million will go into the retirement settlement trust fund, and $7.386 million for the government’s health and life insurance premium payments.

Inos said he looks forward to “speedy legislative action on the additional budget authority.”

House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) said yesterday he will immediately refer the governor’s supplemental budget to the Ways and Means Committee that Rep. Tony Sablan (Ind-Saipan) chairs.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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