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Solyndra consultants pursue pay for tax work

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2013

With its bankruptcy case ended and its failure faded from headlines, solar panel maker Solyndra LLC appears set to receive a big reduction in years worth of overdue property tax bills, potentially setting up tax consultants with a hefty seven-figure payday.

The deal stemmed from Solyndra's hiring of a team of tax consultants on a contingency basis last year. The company offered to pay the consultants a cut of what they could save Solyndra through reduced property tax bills.

Saying they have managed to slash Solyndra's property tax amount by more than $11 million, the consultants from two firms are seeking to get paid for their work.

In separate fee applications filed in recent days, the two firms — Versatax Consulting Inc. of Irvine, Calif., and Duff & Phelps of the District — sought more than $1 million each for consulting in 2012 and existing tax appeals dating back to 2008 in Alameda and Santa Clara counties in California.

The firms, which did not respond to emails Wednesday, said in legal papers that Solyndra had "reached an agreement in principle" with the Alameda tax assessor's office that would result in $11.2 million in savings.

Officials estimated their tax work had yielded nearly $2 million more in savings in Santa Clara County, bringing the total to $13.2 million

The firms said they expect final approval of the tax settlements with both counties to take place within weeks.

Versatax is seeking nearly $1.5 million in its fee application, while Duff & Phelps is asking for more than $1.8 million.

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