Saturday, June 4, 2011


Think you have issues with the IRS? At least you’re not Nicholas Cage, star of dozens of films, including the appropriately named “National Treasure”.

Update: By the latest count, Cage owes Uncle Sam approximately $14 million in back taxes relating to income from 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007. The actor just recently made a payment of $360,545. At least he’s trying.

Meanwhile, he is suing his former business manager, Samuel Levin, for $20 million. Cage claims Levin got him into this mess. The lawsuit states that Levin “lined his pockets with several million dollars in business management fees while sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin.”

Levin, who is countersuing, asserts that he tried to warn Cage about the dangers of his “compulsive, destructive spending,” and encouraged him to sell off 12 automobiles and a $1.6 million comic book collection.

Whatever you think of this guy’s financial woes, it seems like he can’t catch a break. Last year, he saw the close of escrow on his beloved Bel Air home that was sold at auction to an undisclosed limited liability company. The 1940s Tudor mansion once belonged to Dean Martin and Tom Jones. Cage put it on the market in 2007 for $37 million.

The house did not sell and, by 2010, it was burdened by loans from six different lenders totaling $18 million. The home eventually sold last July for 10.5 million. Cage purchased the property in 1998 for $6.5 million.

Real estate agent Bret Parsons told reporters at that the house has lots of mounted toy trains and other oddities. He described the interior of the house as “frat house bordello”.

About a year ago, the actor’s 14,300-square-foot Las Vegas home went into foreclosure. Cage bought the house in 2006 for $8.5 million. It boasted a 16-car subterranean garage, a theater, and an elevator. According to reports, the foreclosure sale brought nearly $5 million.

In July of 2009, Cage lost his two New Orleans homes, worth a total of more than $6.8 million, to foreclosure auctions, according to A New Orleans sheriff reported that Cage owed the city $151,730 in real estate taxes, and was behind $5.5 million in mortgage payments. The only bids came from a bank.

Regions Bank of Alabama bought Cage’s property at 1140 Royal St. in the French Quarter for $2.3 million. The property appraised at $3.5million. Regions also purchased Cage’s other home, at 2523 Prytania St., for $2.2 million. It is reportedly worth $3.3 million. Also, Cage recently sold his mansion in Bath, England, as well as a castle in Bavaria and his New York apartment.

It’s difficult to feel sorry for a guy who was paid enough to generate a tax bill of $14 million. Clearly, the income side of the equation is not the issue. Forbes listed him as one of the 100 most powerful celebrities, and reported that he was paid $40 million between June 2008 and June 2009. Declining real estate values didn’t help, but they probably brought to light Cage’s uncontrolled spending.

Tip: Don’t make the same mistakes as the actor. Paying the IRS on time should be a top priority.