This report was published in July 2000. It should be considered outdated and is kept online for historical purposes only.

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Pioneer Profiles: George W. Bush's $100,000 Club
Name: John Price
Occupation: Chair & CEO, J P Realty Inc
Industry: Real Estate
Home: Salt Lake City, UT


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Price’s firm is one of the region’s largest commercial real estate companies. Yet in ’99 one of Price’s companies attempted to dodge $109,000 in local property taxes on its $6.5 million corporate jet. Company lawyers first said the jet was really housed in Wyoming. When this didn’t fly, they argued that the tax was not applied uniformly. In the midst of this dispute before state Tax Commissioners appointed by Gov. Mike Leavitt, the governor hitched a ride with Price to a GOP event on this very tax-stealth jet. The same year, Price and other fly boys successfully lobbied the legislature to cut the aircraft tax in half. Perhaps this is why Price is so generous to politicians. He and one other financier accounted for 21 percent of the $2.75 million that individuals in Utah gave to federal PACs and candidates in the ’96 election cycle. Price’s share was about twice the amount of his shirked jet tax. “One vote alone doesn’t change much,” he explained. “With money you can influence many people and help to get many votes.” Or you can get money from people who can’t vote. As a Pioneer last year, Price squeezed five $1,000 Bush checks out of his grandchildren—the youngest of whom were three-year-old twins (the campaign has since said it will return money from donors under 13). When Bush rails against “junk lawsuits,” think of Price. He lured a JC Penny store away from a mall in Orem to his new mall in nearby Provo. When Orem’s City Council offered to help its local mall with a corporate welfare package, Price sued the city for unfair competition (even though his Provo mall also was on the dole). Several small businesses that thought they were signing a petition against corporate welfare were surprised to find themselves listed as plaintiffs in Price’s lawsuit. They quickly withdrew from the suit and a judge threw out the charges in ’98.  

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