Aberdeen Heights fights for tax-free status

KIRKWOOD, Mo. - It's a ritzy retirement facility that bills itself as a charity, but the county assessor says its cheating Kirkwood out of millions of dollars in property taxes.

It could all be perfectly legal if the Missouri legislature passes a bill that currently working its way through the capitol.

County Assessor Jake Zimmerman says state lawmakers are carving out a special deal for the owners of Aberdeen Heights, and he and other officials in Kirkwood say they don't think the facility looks like it's hurting for help.

It can cost a person an average of nearly a half-million dollars just to move in the facility, and thousands of dollars a month after that. According to tax records, Aberdeen Heights has made close to $100 million in profit in a single year.

But the facility is owned by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America and claims it deserves charitable status for tax purposes.

The county assessor is fighting that claim in court, trying to compel the facility to pay property taxes, but he says that will all be for nothing if House Bill 2035 passes. It would re-write the law to include all "facilities for the aging" as charitable organizations.

Zimmerman says this could have wide-ranging consequences for municipalities across the state.

Aberdeen Heights says it is charitable because if someone who lives here can no longer pay, they won't kick them out.

NewsChannel 5 has reached out to representatives of the facility and the bill's sponsor but have yet to hear back.


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