Fine print, Living with credit

Celebrity Money Watch: Eva Longoria’s bankruptcy and Val Kilmer’s tax woes

Ann Brenoff

Eva Longoria

Messy deals galore when it comes to that “desperate housewife,” Eva Longoria.  Beso, Longoria’s Las Vegas restaurant and nightclub, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week in an apparent move to fend off a lawsuit by a former business partner.

Longoria is being accused of loaning money to the business at a usurious interest rate. Heck, at least she lends — which is more than we can say for most banks. Her publicist, Liza Anderson, says the bankruptcy filing was merely a defensive move to allow the restaurant to stay in business. Longoria hired Hollywood Big Gun lawyer Robert Shapiro — part of O.J. Simpson’s dream team — so we know she’s in good hands.

eva-longoria-parker_sm.jpgLongoria, who plays adulteress Gabrielle Solis on the popular ABC-TV show, “Desperate Housewives,” opened her first Beso (which means “kiss” in Spanish) restaurant in Hollywood in 2008; that property is not involved in the bankruptcy. The second Beso followed in Las Vegas in December 2009 and was quickly named best new restaurant of the year by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Not sure how many new eateries opened that year in Vegas, the city where I put my X for Ground Zero in the real estate collapse. Anyway, both restaurants remain open and Longoria is planning a trip to Las Vegas to “take charge of the new plans going forward,” says her publicist. I don’t think that includes donning an apron, but who knows?

The Hollywood Beso is the focus of a planned reality series on VH1 called “Beso: Waiting on Fame.” Anyone think the bankruptcy will be written into the story line?

Val Kilmer
It’s hard to feel bad for a tough guy, even when he just plays one on the big screen. Val Kilmer’s second tax lien — imposed just seven months after he paid off the first one — could be putting a crimp in the actor’s attempt to sell his 6,000-acre New Mexico ranch. He uses the place as a bed-and-breakfast, and by all accounts, it’s a stunning place to fish and commune with nature. The IRS, however, has other ideas.

valKilmer_sm.jpgThe lien, in the amount of $498,165, was placed against the property, which is currently listed at $18.5 million. The Pecos River Ranch came on the market sporting a $33 million price tag in 2009. Listing agent C. Patrick Bates of Bates Sanders Swan Land Company declined to answer whether the tax lien against the Kilmer property has had an impact. He would only say “we’ve got a lot of interest in the ranch.”

Tax liens must be disclosed to potential buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors. And whether it’s Kilmer’s property or another one with a lien against it, buyers should carefully investigate to be sure there aren’t other liens, since tax debtors may have used the property as collateral for other debts as well.

Realtor magazine says that the federal government held tax liens on more than 1 million properties in 2008.

As for Kilmer, he’s a two-time lien guy. Kilmer paid off an earlier tax debt of $538,858 just seven months before this one came a-slapping on the door. That one arose out of a $300,000 tax refund dispute that was eventually lost in the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

The star of “Batman Forever” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” Kilmer has floated the idea of running for governor of New Mexico, his home of two decades. Wonder how the IRS feels about that?

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  • Ted

    Eva Longoria seems to be the victim of a slighted ex-partner who’s intent on making her life difficult. The ex-partner is attempting to dismiss Beso’s bankruptcy case as well.

  • Gina

    Let me propose two new laws:
    1. Make it illegal for attorneys to run for political office
    2. Make movie stars go to marriage counseling before being allowed to marry another movie star!