Prince reportedly owes $1.6 million in taxes.

The music icon with property in Carver County made the “Top Tax Liens” in Tuesday’s Finance & Commerce. The notation on Page 28A reads: “Held by Tax Lien — federal $1,619,985.”

Calls to the U.S. attorney, Carver County and an attorney who handled a previous tax issue for Prince yielded no more information on what’s going on here. But it can’t be good.

Time for a Tax Party Concert?

Makes me wonder who’s paying for the meals Symbolina’s reportedly been having lately with high-profile ladies. When UK singer Estelle was here last month, there was chatter that after she performed at Olson’s North by Midwest VIP Marketer Summit she was going to have dinner with Prince. The New York Post reported a week later that Cole’s restaurant in NYC closed for about an hour for a private meal Prince had with MSNBC’s Tamron Hall. I spoke Wendesday with Penny Bradley, an owner of Cole’s, who indicated that there might’ve been no fee for shutting the place down for this celebrity noshing. “You know, Tamron’s a really good friend of one of our owners,” said Bradley. “So we did it as a gesture of kindness.” Bradley said the partner who knows who paid for the lunch was not there to answer the question.

As for the $1.6 mil in taxes, it can be said that if music is Prince’s vocation, tax problems appear to be an avocation.

A story in Strib files reported that in September 2012 Prince was a no-show when summoned by the IRS on behalf of French tax authorities. He has a track record for paying his taxes late in Carver County. He had to make amends for $1.3 million in delinquent property taxes owed for 2009 and 2010 on his Chanhassen property, which includes Paisley Park. A 20-acre piece of property he owns in Chanhassen was headed for auction in 2011 until he came up with the outstanding mortgage.

Prince has what appears to be a cavalier attitude toward, well, most things. You would think he would have accountants to steer him clear of tax problems, unless you suspect that Prince doesn’t really listen to anybody but himself.

If Prince only had an interest in history, he could make all kinds of money by turning Paisley Park into a museum.

Drugs and rock ’n’ roll

Sir Richard Branson allows the occasional Sex Pistols question.

Branson was recently in St. Paul for a screening of his documentary “Breaking the Taboo,” which argues that drug offenders should be treated like sick people and not criminals.

“It maintains that we’ve lost the war on drugs and need a different approach,” said Rob Hahn, who had the temerity to bring up the Sex Pistols during his interview with Branson.

The vetting process to interview Branson was thorough, said Hahn. “They wanted to know everything about me. Everything about my publication Wine Connection and this new venture,” said Hahn. “They wanted to know what questions I was going to ask. I said, ‘I don’t plan those ahead, I’ll just focus on the [documentary] but I’ve got to focus a little on his background in rock.’ ”

After the documentary, Hahn ended up in a back room at the Landmark Center with other media, not an ideal setup.

“We ran through the standard questions on why the war on drugs has failed, why he’s taken such a prominent position,” said Hahn. “I have my back to the room. Mayor [Chris] Coleman was there, Heidi Collins [now formerly of Fox 9]. I have no clue whether they are paying attention. But I get the wrap sign from his publicists and I said, ‘In the 20-30 seconds we have left, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about rock ’n’ roll.’ I found out other people were listening when I said, ‘What was it like working with the Sex Pistols?’ All these people behind me start chuckling.

Branson, who had been “much more laid back than when you see him on TV, almost like he was tired,” said Hahn, “did kind of light up for a second. He said it was a pivotal move and kind of launched Virgin Records into becoming one of the greatest label labels in the world.”


C.J. can be reached at and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.