Retired Marlins World Series catcher Charles Johnson and Mexican singer Juan Gabriel have something in common: Both claim to be Broward County ranchers.
Because farmers benefit from basement-low property-tax rates.
Thing is: County officials don’t believe them, and denied their applications for a so-called “agricultural exemption.”
And that’s going to cost Johnson and Gabriel a pretty penny.
Johnson, 42, the Marlins’ most prolific hitter when the team won the 1997 World Series, has owned 4.7 acres of vacant land in Southwest Ranches since 2003, according to records.
Johnson paid between $12,000 and $17,000 in property taxes, depending on the year, records show.
Suddenly in 2011, Johnson received a coveted agricultural exemption after he claimed to be conducting a “commercial agricultural activity” there.
As a result, his yearly taxed dipped to $275.99 in 2011 and $283.73 last year.
Inspectors with the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office checked into Johnson’s claim in June, and they did notice cows grazing.
The thing is that they couldn’t document that the animals belong to Johnson and that he makes a living from the activity, so his exemption was denied.
His tax bill for 2013: $12,356.
Johnson’s wife Rhonda filed a protest, and she’s due before the Value Adjustment Board this fall. She didn’t return a call for comment.
Gabriel, 63, owns 15 bare acres near Stirling Road in unincorporated Broward. He pays between $30,000 and $60,000 in taxes, depending on the year.
This time around, however, Gabriel filed an agricultural exemption application in which he claims to own “goats and cows” who graze the land.
The inspectors went out and, according to Gossip Extra’s source, didn’t see any animal. So Gabriel’s application — and change to a $700 tax bill for 2013 — was denied.
He, too, is appealing. He didn’t return calls for comment.
Said Ron Cacciatore, the appraiser’s office chief enforcer of exemption laws: “Neither of these gentlemen is a cattleman. We don’t believe they have the right to an agricultural exemption.”
Bieber vs. paparazzo
Hard to believe, but for once teen pop sensation Justin Bieber doesn't want to be on video!
Bieber, 19, has told the Miami paparazzo who accused him of siccing his bodyguards on him in June that he won't respond to a subpoena for a video deposition here in November.
So Russell Adler, the shutterbug’s lawyer, filed paperwork in a Miami-Dade County court to force Bieber to sit down for what could turn out to be a media circus deposition.
A judge is expected to sort things out in a hearing Tuesday in downtown Miami.
The case file shows Adler now wants to grill Bieber sometime in January near his home in Los Angeles.
Why wait until January?
The Biebs is traveling all over the world for concerts and won't be back until late December.
“We requested a court order to compel Mr. Bieber to testify because I’m skeptical he’ll appear without a firm court order,” Adler said. “I don’t want to go to L.A. without the assurance that he'll show up.”
Photographer Jeffrey Binion is seeking millions in punitive damages for a strange incident outside a Miami recording studio in which Binion was allegedly assaulted by Bieber’s armed security team and robbed of his camera’s memory card.