Kansas ordered to pay $63 million to former pizza magnate

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Published: May. 21, 2022 at 1:57 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The state of Kansas must pay former pizza executive Gene Bicknell more than $63 million to settle a long-running dispute over his tax bill.

The court ruled on Friday that Bicknell was a Florida resident in 2005 and 2006 when he sold NPC International, which owned more than 800 Pizza Hut locations around the world.

The Kansas Department of Revenue argued that Bicknell, a longtime resident of Pittsburg, set up a residence in Florida to avoid paying taxes on the sale to Kansas. In 2010, it ordered him to pay $42 million to the state.

The case wound through several courts over the years before being taken up by the state Supreme Court, which sided with Bicknell, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“These findings support its legal conclusion that Gene was domiciled in Florida in 2005 and 2006,” Justice K.J. Wall Jr., wrote in the opinion.

In 2020, Bicknell said Kansas owed him $63 million — his original tax bill plus interest.

“The Department of Revenue’s approach has always felt like extortion, forcing me and my family to endure hundreds of interrogatories, depositions, three trials, three appeals, 15 years of attorney time, and appearances before an agency board that was a kangaroo court,” Bicknell said in a statement Friday.

The revenue department is reviewing the court’s 75-page decision, spokesman Zach Fletcher said.

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