More County Tax Liens Filed Against Backers Of Century Electric Car Plant

January 29, 2009

Two tax liens totaling $11,302.92 have been filed against the Pensacola hotel owners that want to open an electric assembly plant in Century for delinquent tourist development taxes, one of several tax liens filed against their companies in the past year. Those liens total over $82,000.

A $5,548.28 lien was filed this month in Escambia County Circuit Court against LHS Pensacola 4, Inc. and Howard Johnson. And another $5,754.64 lien was filed against LHS Pensacola, Inc. and the Ramada Inn. Both liens were for unpaid tourist development taxes. The LHS Pensacola companies are owned by brothers Jay and Nash Patel, who own a total of six motels in Pensacola and Gulf Shores.

In November, the Patels sought the assistance of Escambia County to apply for a $2.5 million state grant for their LHS EV, Inc. to construct an electric vehicle assembly plant in Century. The Patels and LHS EV have promised hundreds — even up to 1100 — jobs will eventually come with the plant.

taxlien.jpgAttempts to reach the Patels for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday afternoon. They have repeatedly  declined to speak to local media since their plan was original presented to the Escambia County Commission back on October 16.

A few days after the state grant application was filed with the assistance of Escambia County in late November, it was revealed that the Patels’ motel company, LHS Pensacola, Inc., owed the Florida Department of Revenue $65,747.83 in unpaid sales and use taxes on four different Florida properties. There were four pending liens on the properties that were for  $21,127.28; $20,339.76; $16,794.21 and $7,486.58.

County court records still showed the state tax liens to be outstanding as of January 28.

Those were not the only tax liens filed against the companies in 2008. Last May, Escambia County filed a $2,001.86 tax warrant against the Ramada Inn and LHS Pensacola for failing to pay county tourist development taxes. That tax lien was satisfied by the company in July. Another $1,548.63 lien for unpaid tourist taxes by LHS for their Days Inn was filed in May by Escambia County and satisfied in July. Another $2,185.15 tourist tax lien was filed by Escambia County against LHS and their Howard Johnson in May and also satisfied in July.

Tax liens on file with the Escambia Clerk of the Court are not limited to the Patel hotels. The Internal Revenue Service filed a federal tax lien of $39,168 against the spokesman for the electric car company. Escambia County Clerk of Courts records show the IRS filed the $39,168 federal lien against Arthur Rocker on August 25 of this year. The lien was filed by the IRS Wage and Investment Area. County court records still indicate that the lien is outstanding.

A search of the Escambia County Clerk of the Courts records also shows that Beach Community Bank filed foreclosure against two Rocker owned properties in the Norwood Subdivision in May. Those properties were foreclosed upon and sold by the clerk of the court at public auction. They were repurchased by Beach Community Bank.

Rocker is the man that asked the Escambia County Commission for $2.5 million cash on November 12 on behalf of LHS EV, Inc. to build the electric car plant in Century. He later told the commission that he really just wanted assistance filing for a state grant, which lead to the county’s assistance with filing for the  $2.5 million grant from the state.

The Patel’s $2.5 million grant application with the state is still pending. The state is expected to announce their decision on the grant within the next month.

Read the tax liens by clicking here  and here (pdf).


6 Responses to “More County Tax Liens Filed Against Backers Of Century Electric Car Plant”

  1. Anthony Borelli on February 2nd, 2009 1:46 pm

    A full charge will cost 50 cents and last for about 60 miles.

    That’s about 1 cent per mile, compared to about 5 to 10 cents per mile in a gas car.

    I hope we get the plant. I’m not sure why some folks seem angry about the idea.

  2. Domenick on January 29th, 2009 2:59 pm

    With regards to an electric car costing more to charge than a gas car, that is simply not the case. The cost of running an electric car, including the electricity, is often estimated to be between 1 and 8 cents. A gas car? Lots more.

    I invite you to look around the web at some different forums that discuss electric cars. is pretty good and though mostly centered around the Tesla Roadster is a great source of information.

    Electric cars aren’t for everyone yet but more practical models with better prices should start appearing in the couple of years.

  3. Jay on January 29th, 2009 11:04 am

    This electric car fallacy stinks worse than the Main Street sewer plant in downtown Pensacola. If Century is holding out hope that these car bubba’s are going to deliver them into prosperity, then I’ve got some ocean front property in Tennessee that I’ll sell to Century to help boost their tourism revenue. It’s time to move on and find some other dollar to chase because this one aint it. Some more food for thought: There is a whole lot of hoopla over electric cars and how great they’ll be. But no one is telling the full story… You have to re-charge the batteries using your electricity. Just how much will this cost you? Probably a lot more than gas.

  4. Anonymous Coward on January 29th, 2009 8:42 am

    If you could avoid paying taxes, wouldn’t you? They did. Big deal.

    This area needs more and diverse industry. Tourism is lagging, the military base can’t be trusted to stay around and grow, Solutia is all but closed, GE is laying off permanent staff, and I’m sure there are more closings. Property values continue to spiral down, educated college graduates leave this city by the dozens, and there appears to be very little good news on the horizon.

    Hey, I know! Let’s throw the baby out with the bathwater! YA!

    Let’s step up on our moral soapbox and put down these guys for not paying all their taxes. There will be a better opportunity just moments after we block the electric vehicle plant. That’s how it works on TV, right? We live in a television show, right?

    This city needs an economic shot in the arm. I’m sure we can get over several thousand dollars in back taxes if it means the Patel’s will generate several thousand job and make Pensacola look like a forward-thinking city.

    Nah… screw it. Block the EV plant. I’m moving soon, it doesn’t matter to me.

  5. SQ on January 29th, 2009 7:18 am

    It if walks like a duck, talks like a duck…then Century, Escambia County and the stae of Florida are going to get ripped off. I can’t borrow $25,000 on my house down at the bank if I have a tax lien, much less get a 2,500,000.00 grant.

  6. N on January 29th, 2009 6:20 am

    Even though Century definately needs an economic boost, I hope we don’t let this go through, so that we are once again in same situation again with unpaid debts from lease holders.