‘Superman’ building owner scrambles to fix revoked RI business registration

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – The company that owns the so-called “Superman” downtown building has not been “in good standing” to do business in Rhode Island for the past five years, Target 12 has found. .

The official owner of the building at 111 Westminster St. is High Rock Westminster LLC, a separate entity created by Massachusetts-based High Rock Development after purchasing the skyscraper in 2008.

Records reviewed by Target 12 show that High Rock Westminster Street LLC had its incorporation revoked by the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office in June 2017 for failing to file an annual return the previous year. The company has remained out of compliance since then.

Revocation — also known as loss of good standing — can have “serious consequences,” according to the Secretary of State’s website. These include fines and penalties; personal responsibility; loss of name and legal rights; and difficulty in obtaining capital and financing.

High Rock spokesman Bill Fischer acknowledged the problem Wednesday, hours before state leaders are to vote for the first time on giving taxpayer grants for the building’s $220 million redevelopment. .

“It shouldn’t have happened, and we responded to it immediately when it was brought to our attention by WPRI,” Fischer said. “It wasn’t intentional. I think it’s a left and right thing between accountants and lawyers.

This isn’t the first time paperwork issues have caused headaches in High Rock. Last year, the skyscraper was briefly put on the city of Providence’s tax sales list for failing to pay property taxes. At the time, Fischer also attributed this to an internal failure at High Rock.

Asked on Wednesday whether the same issues that caused High Rock to miss its property tax bill also caused it to let its registration of incorporation expire, Fischer said, “There is no correlation between this matter and the cessation of tax payments from the previous year.”

Fischer also said High Rock is “fully compliant” on all of its federal, state and municipal taxes for 111 Westminster at this time.

In order to be reinstated by the Secretary of State’s office, a company must obtain a so-called “Letter of Good Standing” from the RI Taxation Division and then submit all outstanding documents and fees within 30 days. .

Fischer said High Rock used FedEx to submit the required documents and fees, and expects the secretary of state’s office to “issue a certificate of good conduct by tomorrow or Friday at the latest.”

A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, Johnathan Berard, said High Rock had yet to file for reinstatement as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“All documents received today will be processed in a timely manner,” he said.

Gov. Dan McKee is to chair an RI Commerce Corp voting meeting. Wednesday at 5 p.m. to approve $20.7 million in incentives to help offset the cost of the Superman Building redevelopment.

“We’re optimistic about where we are,” Fischer said. “There is a lot of support for the proposal. We have a few steps to take, and tonight is one of a series of steps that must be accomplished. And we look forward to tonight’s vote.

Ted Nesi ([email protected]) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and a 12 News political/economics editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook

Comments are closed.