NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans businessman wrote the city a six-figure check, following our series of stories last year. We uncovered unpaid property taxes for three decades. For one year, the total tax bill could fund about three new NOPD officers.
Jimmie Thorns failed to pay property taxes on his N. Claiborne Avenue property since the 1980's. Thorns' business, Jim Thorns Inc, owns the property and had an outstanding tax bill of $140,000, as we reported in November.
"This is one of the most egregious situations I've ever seen," Tulane law professor Joel Friedman told us. "To me it is absolutely shocking."
At the time of our report, Thorns sat on the Louisiana Tax Commission, a board appointed by the governor to oversee fair and accurate property taxation. That position paid him $56,000 a year.
After our story, Gov. John Bel Edwards asked Thorns to resign from the board; he did.
"To have paid no taxes on a small piece of property - where the tax is not that large, but has now a huge bill - it can't be unintentional," Friedman said. "You know, one year could be a mistake; 30 years is a concerted decision not to pay real estate taxes."
The City of New Orleans put his property up for auction. But last week, the city removed it from the auction list.
And this week, the city confirmed Thorns had finally paid his property tax bill. The city's website shows the delinquent bill is paid in full. The statement indicates Thorns wrote a $159,000 check last week to redeem the property and remove it from the list to be auctioned off.