The Block manager pleads to felony tax charge
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The former managing partner of two South Lake Tahoe hotels pleaded no contest Friday to a felony count of grand theft by embezzlement for not paying about $200,000 in city Transient Occupancy Tax.
El Dorado County prosecutors dropped seven misdemeanor counts of failure to furnish tax-return data and seven misdemeanor counts of failure to pay Transient Occupancy Tax against Eneliko Smith as part of the agreement.
And, if Smith completes 320 hours of community service, pays $510 in fines and fees and pays restitution to the city, the felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
A restitution hearing in the case is set for 8:30 a.m. on June 8.
William Cole, Smith’s attorney, said he hopes to have restitution reduced to about $100,000, a move that will be opposed by prosecutors.
Smith has denied criminal activity in the case and said the hotel tax didn’t get paid because of a mistakes during a change in bookkeepers at the Cedar Lodge and The Block hotels.
The city closed the hotels in December 2008. Both are now bank-owned, Smith said Friday.
The former hotel manger said he accepted the plea agreement on Friday because he wanted to move on and because it allowed the felony charge to be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Smith, who lives in Detroit, Mich., has recently expressed interest in purchasing the Sugar Loaf Resort on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The resort has been closed since 2000.
Smith said he has been upfront with everyone involved in the potential resort purchase and said he doesn’t expect his South Lake Tahoe tax issues to stand in the way.
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