I-Team: Taxpayers on the hook to pay for golf course project - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Taxpayers on the hook to pay for golf course project

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LAS VEGAS -- Two well-known developers owe one local city government three-quarters of a million dollars for taxpayer funded projects and have yet to pay.

It's an audit nobody wants to talk about; not the city of Henderson and not the developers. At risk is a large sum of taxpayer money.

Even on a hot summer afternoon, Frank Mueller and his friends can be found at Henderson's Wildhorse Golf Course.

"I like the greens. They putt pretty good. They give you a good deal, $29 and they give you a free lunch," Mueller said.

Some might argue the two golf course developers are also getting a free lunch that is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Wildhorse Golf Course uses reclaimed water. The city of Henderson used taxpayer money to build pipes for the water, but city officials say, the developers never paid them back.

The cost for those pipes was $677,000.  Also, add an additional $73,000 for resurfacing the greens and city auditors say taxpayers are owed three-quarters of a million dollars.

The two developers are well known Las Vegas names. Famed gambler Billy Walters owns The Walters Group and the Greenspun family owns American Nevada Company.

The I-Team went to American Nevada Company offices after repeated calls to executives went unanswered, but had no better luck getting questions answered. Billy Walters representatives also never made Walters available to answer about the owed money.

The city of Henderson wasn't that talkative either. Declining to answer questions, a city spokesperson wrote: "Those amounts listed in the audit are in dispute and subject to anticipated litigation. Staff is definitely working on it but I'm not able to give you an exact figure of what is owed."

Nevada Policy Research Institute's Geoffrey Lawrence reviewed the same audit.

"It sounds like from this audit, the city of Henderson is not very good at processing paperwork because this bill was sent out by the city, but it wasn't sent out through the finance department. In fact, the finance people had no idea this bill was even outstanding. Now the auditor comes by and says, 'look, you're owed almost a million dollars,'" Lawrence said.

The developers may not have to pay taxpayers anything back. Auditors point out it took so long for the city to go after them for unpaid bills that a six year deadline may have already passed.

Mueller and his friends will continue to tee up at Wildhorse golf course. After all, it's a public course and the public paid a lot more than expected.

The I-Team is continuing to reach out to the two development companies to get answers about the unpaid bills.  If they respond to the I-Team questions, the information will be posted to this story.


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