Detroit Pistons ownership says tax lien is a mistake

Detroit Pistons parent company Palace Sports & Entertainment was hit last month with a lien for unpaid state taxes that company officials said “fell through the cracks.” Combined with an earlier federal lien, it now appears to owe nearly $280,000.

A federal lien was filed on February 3 in Oakland County, Michigan, for $17,692. And on July 20, the state filed a lien, also in Oakland County, for $262,268.
 
Palace Sports & Entertainment said it was a mistake on the company's part. Spokesman Jeff Corey said the problem arose when the company was making an administrative change and inadvertently failed to send unemployment tax reports to the proper government authorities.
 
“It fell between the cracks as we were coming off an old payroll system and going to our new payroll company,” Corey told The Detroit News. “All taxes were paid; we were just missing the report to balance it out.”
 
To correct the problem company officials faxed reports providing information about the liens this month.
 
“We had a very similar situation happen a year or two ago,” Corey said. “Unfortunately, they don’t contact us to let us know they are missing anything, they just go ahead and file a lien.”
 
In December 2008, a state lien was filed in the amount $302,826 against Palace Sports & Entertainment, but it was released in just four days.
 
Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons team, valued at $475 million, is on the market. The owner is Karen Davidson, widow of late owner Bill Davidson. Despite a tough economy, several parties are interested.
 
Potential buyers include:
  • Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, and founder and president of Little Caesars Pizza
  • George Postolos, former Houston Rockets president
  • Tom Gores, Michigan State University graduate and NBA Hall of Famer
  • Earvin "Magic" Johnson, former Los Angeles Laker and Michigan State University star
Johnson told NBA.com that he has not been in formal talks about the possible purchase. If it happens, he said he will not be a majority owner because that would mean he would have to relocate from Los Angeles to Michigan.
 
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