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Pinellas property tax bills total $300,000 from the top four delinquent homeowners

Thousands of property owners throughout Florida are struggling to pay their mortgage, insurance and taxes. But those who owe the most to Pinellas County in delinquent 2011 property taxes aren't the people you would think are living paycheck to paycheck.

The tax bills were sent in October and a reminder was sent before the March 31 deadline.

The four residents who missed that due date and owe the most taxes include a doctor on the state's board of osteopathic medicine and a lottery winner who received $24 million in 2001. The property owners' homes range in size from 5,330 square feet to 12,900 square feet.

One Pinellas resident, Jabil CEO Tim Main, was on the delinquent taxpayer list, owing the second-highest amount for a residential property, until Thursday afternoon when he paid his tax bill with a credit card. He owed nearly $65,000 on his 7,338-square-foot Mediterranean mansion on Brightwaters Boulevard NE in the Snell Isle neighborhood of St. Petersburg.

Main's payment came after a reporter with the Tampa Bay Times called Jabil Thursday morning. After paying the taxes and a $1,900 convenience fee for paying online, Main said through a spokeswoman that his failure to pay on time was an oversight due to his busy travel schedule.

The four residents still owing the most in delinquent taxes as of last week — slightly more than $300,000 total — are not disputing the county's appraisal of their property that dictates their tax bill, according to the Pinellas County Clerk of Court.

James and Jill St. Louis owe $129,271 in taxes on their 12,900-square-foot French-English country mansion at 144 Willadel Drive in Belleair. James St. Louis is the founder of the Tampa-based Laser Spine Institute and was appointed by Charlie Crist to sit on the state board of osteopathic medicine.

St. Louis could not be reached for comment.

The couple bought the house that sits on a 2-acre bluff in 2008 for $10.25 million. At the time of the sale, the Tampa Bay Times reported the home encompassed 6 miles of wood trim and had a 240,000-gallon swimming pool fashioned into a rocky lagoon fed by a waterfall.

Public records show two years after the purchase, Jill St. Louis filed for divorce. The case is ongoing.

The Laser Spine Institute has locations in Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Scottsdale, Ariz. According to its website, it's responsible for more than 400 surgeries a month and has 450 employees.

Donna Aloi, a former receptionist who received a $24 million lump-sum payment for winning the lottery in 2001, owes $58,636 on a three-story home at 605 Orange St. S in Palm Harbor.

Aloi didn't pay her 2009 or 2010 taxes on time either. She did ultimately pay her 2009 taxes and said she's paying the 2010 taxes next week.

"Sometimes you have to juggle, whether you have a lot of money or you have a little bit of money," Aloi said. She declined to comment further.

Her 10,050-square-foot house is on the market for $2.4 million. It has Brazilian cherry flooring, a gourmet kitchen, home theater, game room and a pool with waterfalls and a spa. There is a three-car garage and another four-car garage with two lifts for auto storage.

Property records show she bought the 1.7-acre parcel her house sits on for $675,000 in 2001, fewer than two months after winning the lottery. Later that year construction began on the house and it was completed in 2003. The county appraises it at $2.8 million.

When she won the lottery 11 years ago, Aloi said she'd never made more than $20,000 a year and planned to use the money to help family members, buy a car, a house and a boat.

Michael W. Schmidt, an associate in various communications companies, owes $57,953 for a corner penthouse at Ovation at 180 Beach Drive NE in downtown St. Petersburg.

He bought the 5,330-square-foot unit for $4.5 million in 2010. Property records show he does not claim a homestead exemption on it as his primary residence. He is associated with several communications companies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and West Bay Communications in St. Petersburg.

Schmidt could not be reached for comment.

Pedro Javier Sarabia Leon, president of Sea Central Shipping Corp. in Tampa, owes $57,016 on his 7,029-square-foot home at 851 Brightwaters Blvd. NE in St. Petersburg.

His house, which is named "Casa de Encanto," loosely translated the "House of Enchantment," is on the market for $3.6 million. Along with five bedrooms and six and a half baths, it has a climate-controlled wine room, four fireplaces and a guest house.

He bought it in 2009 for $3.4 million and does not claim a homestead exemption on it as his primary residence. He also did not pay his 2010 taxes but the debt was sold by the county to an investor who is charging interest on it. He could not be reached for comment.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at kssmith@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8785.

Picking up the bill

Here's why Pinellas County won't be short its $300,000 for long.

If these four property owners, who jointly owe nearly $303,000, don't pay their taxes in the next 11 days, someone else probably will.

On June 1 the county will sell the debt by auctioning tax certificates for every unpaid property tax bill. Banks, companies and individual investors buy thousands of tax certificates around the country and charge interest to the property owner. In Pinellas County, investors bid on the tax certificates and the one offering the lowest interest rate wins. Investors cannot charge more than 18 percent. The average rate charged last year was 2 percent.

If the property owner doesn't pay the certificate holder back in two years, the holder can call for the property to go up for auction to the highest bidder.

Last year 17,354 tax certificates were sold to 8,489 winning bidders. Close to 99 percent of the county's tax certificates are bought by investors, according to Laurel Whitney, deputy of tax operations for Pinellas County.

The auction is online at

bidpinellas.com.

Pinellas property tax bills total $300,000 from the top four delinquent homeowners 05/19/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 19, 2012 4:32am]
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