What's Prince up to now?

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 23, 2010 - 8:19 AM

Prince has been moving all around Chanhassen lately, and yet he still hasn't found time to pay his property taxes.

Word is that he caused some excitement in the past couple of weeks by going to the city of Chanhassen administration building. A city official told me late last week that they don't comment on meetings until there is an application -- say, for a building permit, or, as has been Prince's proclivity in recent years, a demolition permit.

In 2003, Prince tore down the Purple House on Lake Riley where his father lived until his death. Then, in 2005, he razed his primary residence on a beautiful, secluded, wooded lot consisting of two parcels on Lake Ann.

Symbolina was reportedly observed buying a lock and chain at Merlin's Ace Hardware and made a late-evening stop at Houlihan's; both businesses are near Paisley Park, where moving vans also have been seen lately.

An e-mailer, who asked not to be named, wrote: "I drive by Paisley Park twice a day (taking kids to school). First I notice the plant was gone from the window, now there are moving trucks there today [Wednesday]. He has been spotted around Chan a lot lately (Arboretum, hardware store, driving through Long Acres neighborhood looking at houses with For Sale signs). What is he up to?"

The possible explanations for the Two Men and a Truck moving vans are infinite, although I am pretty sure that one of the items I captured on startribune.com/video is a table that can be seen among furnishings on the paisleyparkstudios.com website.

I left word with two men on the grounds that I'd like a comment from Prince. One of the men told me, "Do not take pictures of this property," even though I was on a public sidewalk across the street. He said he was going to call the police on me, and I told him I'd stay right where I was. The other guy made a threatening maneuver at me with his SUV, but I felt safer when he complained to me without getting out of his car.

Despite all of the activity at the studios, Prince apparently has not moved to get current on his property taxes.

Laurie Engelen, Carver County's taxpayer services manager, confirmed Friday that Prince continues to owe taxes on four pieces of property of current interest to me. Those are the two parcels on Lake Ann, one on Lake Riley where his father, John L. Nelson, lived out his final days, and Paisley Park.

Engelen said the current year's unpaid taxes, plus penalties, on these four pieces of property -- if paid by May 31, since he's already missed the May 15 bill -- total $126,418.24. The 2009 taxes on these same four properties, plus penalties, interest and fees, are $259,848.40 if paid by May 31. Grand total: $386,266.64.

In March, when Prince's delinquent taxes last got media attention, the total unpaid was closer to $500,000. But that was for the 12 pieces of property purchased under his name or business entities. Of course, rich people, like Symbolina, sometimes buy property under names unknown to the general public.

Dining with Denny

Had lunch at Punch Pizza with Denny Hecker and Fancy Ray.

Our time together got off to a rocky start, with Hecker miffed that our lunch plans were all over the Internet. I was befuddled.

My lunch with Hecker was already on my appointment book when Fancy Ray whined that I had promised him lunch months ago. I asked Hecker if I could bring along the self-proclaimed "Best Looking Man in Comedy" and commercial pitchman, although he never did a TV spot for Denny when Hecker still owned car dealerships. If Hecker were there, then Fancy Ray, who has a girlfriend, would not flirt with me (though I would not date him even if he were the last man on Earth).

It was a rare hour.

Fancy Ray asked Hecker so many interesting questions that I could just eat my pizza. Fancy Ray managed to disclose his proposal that he take me on a cruise. "You should go," Hecker said. "He seems fun." Both you boys should hold your breath.

Hecker told me the lunch conversation was off-the-record (even though that's not possible with three people present). One thing I am dying to write is something Hecker told me I could not be first to report even if I kept it secret. Niiiccce.

There was another interesting moment when I opened my wallet and removed a plastic wrapper of Herbes de Provence, from Golden Fig, that I had repackaged to sprinkle on my Napoli pizza.

Hecker and Fancy Ray had the nerve to express concern about my herbs. I told them that people who truly know me -- and they don't -- know that I don't mess with illegal drugs.

Hecker quipped that he didn't want to know me better.

After we dropped Hecker off at his lawyer's office, I continued to express shock to Fancy Ray that this lunch date had somehow gotten out before it happened.

"I posted it on my Facebook.com page and Twitter," Fancy Ray said.

Scared to admit that to Hecker, was he?

"Wasn't afraid," he replied. "I chose not to, but I'm going to be straight with you. He said it was on a blog; it wasn't a blog. Afterward, I wrote on Twitter that it went great, but Denny still didn't approve my car loan."

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX ox 9 Thursday mornings.

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