Fmr. Grand Rios Owner, Others Charged In Fraud Scheme

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Three people, including the former owner of Grand Rios Water Park, were charged in Minneapolis Federal Court Thursday with conspiring to evade paying federal taxes.

Jeffrey John Wirth, his ex-wife Holly Claire Damiani and Michael James Murry were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Wirth was also charged with two counts of filing false individual tax returns and two counts of filing false corporate tax returns. Murray was also charged with two counts of procuring a false corporate tax return as well as two counts of procuring a false individual tax return.

According to an indictment, the three allegedly conspired with each other to obstruct tax collection by the IRS. Wirth owns “The Wirth Companies,” a real estate development and management company and about 30 other businesses. Among them is the Grand Rios Hotel and Waterpark in Brooklyn Park.

The indictment states that Damiani was married to Wirth from 1980 to 2008, was a vice president at The Wirth Companies from 1988 to 2006 and was the company’s CFO from 2003 to 2006. From 2000 to 2010, Murry was the primary tax preparer for Wirth and his businesses.

The indictment alleges that the three arranged for millions of dollars worth of construction and acquisitions for Wirth and Damiani’s Lake Minnetonka custom mansion to be paid by Wirth’s companies, but not reported on business tax returns or Wirth and Damiani’s personal income tax returns.

Wirth and Damiani are also accused of understating their wages on personal income tax returns. From 2002 to 2006, the wages TWC paid to Wirth and Damiani were $12,000 per year or less, but the fair market value of their labor was far higher than that.

They also didn’t report The Wirth Companies’ tax returns millions of dollars in fee income during the construction and development of the Grand Rios Water Park and the Grand Lodge Hotel and Waterpark in Bloomington. Wirth and Damiani also allegedly caused the income and losses of TWC and their related businesses to be zeroed out by using losses from certain businesses to offset income from other Wirth businesses.

Wirth also filed false corporate tax returns in 2004 and 2005 that were prepared by Murry. Wirth and Damiani also filed false individual tax returns in those years that were prepared by Murry. The IRS is suffering a total tax loss in the millions of dollars as a result.

All three face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and up to three years on each tax count.

  • fry them

    naughty boys and girls.
    I heard he is the cousin of our very own Michelle Bachmann — that a fact for sure?
    It would not surprise me but timing would be bad huh

    • prove it

      The problem is that you provide neither proof nor how it would be relevant if they are related.
      I can’t stand Bachmann. But the reason is what she stands for, not what a supposed relative might have done.

    • jules

      Truly you should do your research before making such a ridiculous claim. No it’s not fact.

  • Joker

    The jokes on them. Under current tax codes, they wouldn’t have had to pay any taxes anyway, not in their tax bracket. Silly, greedy rich people.

    • Urthejoker

      You couldn’t know less about tax codes, they’re charged with numerous ways of tax evasion not just income tax, you understand tree stump.

      • Joker

        You have no sense of humor. It’s a joke. Sorry it was above your usual level of watching paint dry.

        • PoorJoker

          Oh i get it, you are in the class that expect the successful to pay all the taxes, while you work in a factory for $13 an hour, if only you’d done something with your life.

  • joker

    Wrong again. And if I pay say, 5% of my income, why shouldn’t those in the upper two percent?

  • Jake

    In Crooklyn Park?? Say it ain’t so, JOE!!

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