Court rules in parish’s favor

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 18, 2002


LULING – St. Charles Parish could end up with up to $400,000 this year in sales taxes from Archer Daniels Midland Co., the result of recent state court action.

Roy Lilly, representing the St. Charles School Board, has pursued the matter for 11 years. On March 8, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied an appeal for rehearing filed by ADM, sending the matter back to the 29th Judicial District Court in Hahnville for trial.

“ADM hates paying taxes,” Lilly commented.

The case comes down to tugboats and their use.

According to Lilly, ADM refused to pay sales taxes on tugboats, claiming their use was in interstate and foreign commerce, entitling them to a tax exemption.

However, some tugboats operate wholly within Louisiana, which does not exempt them from payment of taxes, the high court ruled.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had sided with ADM, and the parish school board appealed to the state supreme court.

The board was joined in the appeal by other parishes along the Mississippi River, including St. John the Baptist, Assumption and West Baton Rouge, along with Terrebonne Parish.

The state supreme court originally ruled in the parish’s favor on Nov. 28, and ADM filed for a rehearing, which was ruled upon March 8.

ADM had placed $400,000 in an escrow account which the parish could eventually collect.

However, Lilly continued, ADM may choose to go to federal court to pursue the matter, since if St. Charles Parish is successful, other parishes and counties along the length of the river may file to collect their own taxes which may be due.

“All along the river, it’s a whole lot,” Lilly said.