Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipeg mayor lists Arizona home as a primary residence

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HIS job is mayor of Winnipeg, but property-tax records describe Sam Katz's Arizona home as a primary residence.

In 2012, Katz purchased a home in the Windgate Ranch neighbourhood of Scottsdale, a northeastern suburb of Phoenix. Since 2013, the Maricopa County Assessor's Office has listed the 4,470-square-foot property as a "primary residence."

Based on the value of the property -- US$934,500 in 2014 -- the status allows Katz to claim an annual US$600 property-tax credit, said Robert Pizorno, communications director for the Maricopa County Assessor's Office.

In order for the house to qualify as a primary residence in Maricopa County, a sole owner must occupy the property for at least six months plus one day, Pizorno said.

Katz's office said the mayor spends nowhere near that much time in Arizona every year and is not a U.S. resident.

His primary residence in Winnipeg's Tuxedo neighbourhood, assessed at $1,009,000 in 2014, entitles him to a $700-a-year Manitoba education tax credit.

The Maricopa County Assessor's Office now plans to send Katz a notice, asking him to clarify his status as a prelude to the possible recovery of previous tax credits.

Pizorno said the office considered Katz as an Arizona resident.

"A lot of this is on the honour system. Someone fills out the application and unless we get information to the contrary, we go with it. The application indicated a Scottsdale mailing address," Pizorno said.

Carmen Barnett, Katz's communications director, said the mayor has always disclosed the fact he lives in Winnipeg. She said it's possible U.S. titles provided the Maricopa County Assessor's Office with incorrect information.

"The mayor is a Canadian resident, not a resident of Arizona and has provided his accurate status to the titles company," Barnett said.

Katz acquired the property from Teri Nordstrom, the sister of Shindico Realty chief financial officer Diane Shindleman.

Nordstrom paid US$1.59 million cash for the property following a foreclosure in 2008, the year it was built. The home has a three-car garage, air conditioning and a pool.

In 2011 and 2012, property-tax bills for the house were sent to the Colorado-based Nordstrom at Katz's Winnipeg address.

The property had a cash value of US$829,200 when Katz acquired it in August 2012.

The home's price was not disclosed in county records due to an exemption that applies to properties purchased in full.

Katz said at the time he paid "fair market value" for the home but did not reveal the purchase price. He said he was able to avoid a mortgage due to his success as the owner of a number of businesses and commercial properties.

"I've had a 40-year business career. I've been blessed and very fortunate in many of my business ventures," he said in September 2012. "You know what? If you work hard, wonderful things can happen."

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 22, 2014 A4

History

Updated on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:48 AM CDT: Replaces photo

11:45 AM: clarifies headline

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