Vail-area developer, GOP backer sued for tax delinquency

One of the least-known but biggest private landowners in the state, Swedish shipping magnate Magnus Lindholm, is embroiled in a lawsuit filed by the mountain town of Avon for non-payment of taxes and fees associated with his massive Village at Avon project at the base of Beaver Creek.

The town claims the Traer Creek Metropolitan District set up to provide services for Lindholm’s sprawling 2,000-plus-home project surrounding Eagle County’s only big box stores (Wal-Mart and Home Depot) owes $650,000 in unpaid sales taxes and capital improvement fees.

The county treasurer also posted a notice in The Vail Daily last week that the Traer Creek Mall owes another $300,000 in back property taxes, and Avon claims the developer has shirked on paying for services such as policing and snow removal since January, although those fees weren’t included in the lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Lindholm, a big backer of the local Republican Party, which is running a slate of anti-tax candidates in the Nov. 4 election, made headlines several years ago when he erected a gigantic American flag in the Wal-Mart parking lot, enraging some area residents who said it was no more than an advertising gimmick disguised as patriotism and that it impacted mountain views.

Now his property along Interstate 70 through Avon is dotted with giant campaign signs for GOP politicians such as House District 56 candidate Ali Hasan, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, the presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin and local anti-tax crusaders Debbie Buckley and Dick Gustafson for county commissioner.

The Vail Daily missed the boat on the initial tax notice in their own paper, allowing the competing and more conservative Vail Mountaineer to scoop them Saturday (the Mountaineer does not have a Web site). And the Daily only posted a story about the lawsuit on their Web site Tuesday afternoon after Avon sent out a press release.

Lindholm was involved in tax disputes with the government in his native Sweden before sailing into the sunset in Eagle County.

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