Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough appraiser: Tennis star Blake owes taxes on home which was murder-suicide site

While the law enforcement investigation continues into why a businessman killed his family, torched the Avila mansion they rented, then killed himself last month, the tragedy has prompted a second, less macabre inquiry into a wealthy professional athlete's property taxes.

Retired tennis star James Blake has improperly claimed a homestead exemption for at least two years on the house that went up in flames May 7 after deputies say Darrin Campbell executed his family and shot himself, Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez confirmed Tuesday.

The Campbell family had rented the home for two years from Blake, who lives in Connecticut. People who read news reports about the triple murder-suicide contacted his office and urged an inquiry, Henriquez said.

"Obviously, with the tragedy we didn't want to make a big deal about it," Henriquez said. "But we need to treat everyone fairly."

Henriquez's office sent Blake a letter May 27 informing him he owes $5,700.13 in taxes and penalties on the 5,900-square-foot home going back to 2010. An agent for Blake contacted the office Tuesday and contested the taxes for 2010 and 2011, according to Sue Reynolds, director of administrative service for the Appraiser's Office.

Blake's agent may be right, Reynolds said. The Appraiser's Office suspects Blake has lived in Connecticut since 2010, but is only certain he improperly took the exemption in 2012 and 2013. Reynolds expects followup conversations with Blake or his agent to determine how long he has been renting the Avila home but claiming he lived there.

Blake and his spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He has 30 days from when the letter was sent to pay the taxes and penalties before a lien will be placed on the house.

Florida homeowners are permitted to deduct $50,000 from the assessed value of their primary residences before paying property taxes. In 2013, for example, Blake's home at 16223 Sierra De Avila was assessed at $963,163, but Blake paid taxes only on $913,163. The exemption saved him roughly $800 per year on his tax bill.

Blake, 34, bought the five-bedroom, five-bathroom home for $1.6 million in 2005, property records show. He first claimed it as his primary residence in 2009, the Appraiser's Office said.

Hillsborough appraiser: Tennis star Blake owes taxes on home which was murder-suicide site 06/03/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What to expect from the Florida Orchestra's 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' show

    Events

    With just a few short tings from the celesta, a small piano-style instrument, and you're instantly transported to Harry Potter's wizarding world.

    Courtesy of the Straz Center
  2. Police: Boy, 12, burglarized Melrose Elementary during Hurricane Irma

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 12-year-old boy is facing a felony charge after police say he burglarized Melrose Elementary while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma.

    Melrose Elementary at 1752 13th Ave. S in St. Petersburg was burglarized while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma. A 12-year-old boy has been charged, police said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  3. How Jameis Winston's turnovers doomed the Bucs again

    Bucs

    The Bucs' rise or fall is based on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. His failure to take care of the football was arguably the biggest factor in their 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

    Jameis Winston has turned the football over 25 times in 17 road games. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  4. Wrenching photos show hurricane battered Puerto Rico on brink of crisis

    Hurricanes

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis" and it was up to Congress to …

    Residents bathe in a natural spring in the hill town of Toa Alta, Puerto Rica, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after the Category 4 storm knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday that the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis." [Victor J. Blue | New York Times]
  5. New 'Game of Thrones' concert experience coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

    Blogs

    More music is coming.

    A new, live Game of Thrones concert experience is coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sept. 21, 2018, the venue announced today. That may seem like a long way off, but with no new season on HBO's immediate horizon, that's probably the next taste of Game of Thrones you're going to get for a …