Big security firm dogged for back taxes

April 3, 2011 at 6:09 PM

MOYOCK, N.C., April 3 (UPI) -- Xe Services, the security firm formerly known as Blackwater, owes a North Carolina county millions in back taxes, officials say.

Camden County Manager Randell Woodruff says the company, already the county's biggest taxpayer, owes almost $2.9 million, including penalties and interest, for aircraft based there but used around the world.

About 50 aircraft worth some $80 million have been based the complex in Moyock, N.C., called the U.S. Training Center over the past six years, reports The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., citing Federal Aviation Administration and satellite maps.

"I was always noticing tons of helicopters and airplanes," Woodruff said. "I was always wondering: 'Is any of this equipment registered with the county? Why isn't this part of the Camden County tax base?'"

He hired an appraiser to research the aircraft in June.

Xe's lawyer, C.B. McLean Jr., agrees it owes taxes but says most of the planes were flying in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa and rarely on the base.

In the county's tax records, Presidential Airways, a subsidiary, claimed one small aircraft at the site.

"The company concedes they made an error," McLean told county commissioners in a hearing March 21. "The figure of $3 million is grossly inflated, however."

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