Where did the “Prima Donna” Dock?

If you’ve ever driven from Southern California to Las Vegas, the first exit on Interstate-15 when you cross into Nevada is for Primm, site of three casinos. These casinos used to be owned by the Primm family but were sold to MGM (now MGM/Mirage) in 1998. (I believe that the Primm Casinos were later divested to Herbst Gaming.)

The family patriarch, Gary Primm, bought a yacht, the Prima Donna. It’s a big yacht, 145 feet in length. The yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands and, according to Alexander Druft, attorney for Mr. Primm, was normally docked in Baja California.

The Orange County, California assessor believes that the yacht was docked part of the time during 2002 and 2006 in nearby Newport Beach, and Mr. Primm thus owes the county nearly $380,000 in property taxes (for 2003 and 2007, the years following the dockings). Mr. Primm has appealed the assessor’s office ruling; he previously won an appeal regarding 2006 (based on 2005 dockings).

So is this “harassment” as claimed by Mr. Druft or is Webster Guillory, Orange County Assessor, correct when he states, “If he owns a big boat, even if he lives in Nevada, he’s not docking it there.” Well, I know Mr. Guillory is correct in that an ocean-going vessel isn’t docked in Nevada. Still, given the precarious nature of California’s finances it’s not surprising that the assessor is looking under every rock (or at every dock) to find anything worth taxing.

News Story: Orange County Register

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