IRS liens Vilar for $24 million |

IRS liens Vilar for $24 million

Cliff Thompson
Special to the DailyPhilanthropist and former Vail Valley resident Alberto Vilar has been slapped with a $24 million lien by the Internal Revenue Service, which claims Vilar owes incomes taxes from 1996 through 2002.

EAGLE COUNTY -Vilar Center namesake and former Beaver Creek resident Alberto Vilar has been slapped with a $24 million lien by the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid income taxes.At one time Vilar and his Amerindo Investments money management company, which pioneered investment in high tech companies that boomed through the 1980s and 1990s, was worth an estimated $9 billion.The lien filed last spring claims Vilar owes income taxes from 1996 through 2002. Last year Vilar sold three properties he owned in Beaver Creek and one property in Edwards. He still owns three parking spaces in Beaver Creek, according to county records. A lien is filed by creditors, such as the IRS, to secure property that can be sold. The IRS did not comment on the lien, citing disclosure laws.But after the high-tech bubble burst, Vilar’s finances suffered, and the ripple effects were felt here and elsewhere. ‘Enormously generous’

Vilar, 63, owned and eventually sold three properties he owned in Beaver Creek and Edwards that were foreclosed on by local banks claiming $2.74 million was owed. He subsequently paid off what was owed. News reports of the foreclosures spawned an angry letter from Vilar to this newspaper.”I remain committed to continue to support philanthropically the Vail Valley as best I can and there are many reasons to be believe that technology is likely to be one of the best performing sectors of the market over the next several years. If I were to have a change of heart and decided to stop supporting the Vail Valley it would be because of your newspaper’s insensitivity to me. It’s not as though the Vail Valley has scores of big donors they can readily afford to lose,” he wrote in 2003.Four years ago he also made a $3.5 million philanthropic pledge to help remodel the Ford Amphitheatre/Vilar Center for the Performing Arts in Vail’s Ford Park. He made good on $2 million of that.That forced the Vail Valley Foundation, which manages the Vilar Center’s $10 million budget, to borrow $1.5 million, said Ceil Folz, Vail Valley Foundation president. It is making interest payments on the loan, she said.”He was in contact with us over the holidays,” said Folz. “He continues to state his intention to make that payment. In 2001 a lot of people fell on tough times. They either have made it back or are making their way back.”Vilar, she said, has been “enormously generous.”

Through a spokesman, Vilar said he couldn’t comment on the liens because he no longer owns a home in Colorado. But he is interested in purchasing a residence here in the not-too-distant future, said spokesman John Salak.Vilar also said he remains “fully committed,” to fulfilling his pledge to the Vail Valley Foundation, but did not indicate a timetable. And in published reports Vilar said with the rebound of the stock market, he intends to become more active in philanthropic ventures.In better timesVilar’s profligate philanthropy in better times was well chronicled. He contributed an estimated $300 million to lyric arts companies and other causes worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Kirov Company in St. Petersburg, Russia, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and the National Jewish Hospital in Denver.In October Vilar sold his 16,000-square-foot slopeside residence in Beaver Creek for a loss. He purchased it five years ago for $8.7 million, and sold it for $5.37. The property was in the midst of a stalled renovation that left it just a shell of a building when it was sold.

A portion of the sales price of that property, $258,646, was taken by the IRS in Dec. 2004, to satisfy part of the lien.The value of the three parking lots in the Villa Montane parking structure in Beaver Creek is just a fraction of that claimed by the IRS. Their value, according to county records, is less than $300,000. Vilar received those properties in return for nearly $10 million in donations he made to the Vilar Center.Last year Vilar was listed by Forbes Magazine as the 327th richest American on the Forbes 400 list. His net worth was listed at $950 million. A recovering stock market has also boosted the Amerindo Investments’ portfolio to $13 billion.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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