Seattle developer and billionaire Martin Selig has racked up nearly $2 million in delinquent electric bills with Seattle City Light, records show.
Billionaire real-estate developer Martin Selig’s properties have racked up months’ worth of unpaid Seattle City Light bills totaling nearly $2 million.
Martin Selig Real Estate’s delinquencies with the city-owned utility stretch back as far as April for buildings in downtown, Queen Anne and Belltown, according to records released to The Seattle Times.
In all, dozens of Selig accounts are more than 30 days past due, for a total $1,934,360, including late fees, according to City Light. Roughly $1 million of that has gone unpaid for more than 90 days.
Selig’s firm, which has a history of falling behind on electric bills, has been working to catch up, making a $506,000 payment Aug. 5 and promising to deliver an additional $462,000 Monday under a repayment plan negotiated with City Light.
While customers sometimes miss payments, Scott Thomsen, a City Light spokesman, called it “an unusual situation for a large property owner with this many different accounts to have this volume of accounts in arrears.”
Pete Parker, chief operating officer for Selig, said the firm “had some short-term issues” in the spring but is not in financial distress. “We’re paying as agreed … Seattle City Light has been a good partner with us in working through that,” he said.
City Light customers can face electric shut-off notices if they have balances of $300 or more that are at least 30 days overdue. But the utility typically tries to work out payment plans, Thomsen said, and there is no imminent threat of turning off the lights in Selig’s buildings, which house hundreds of rent-paying tenants.
One of Seattle’s best-known developers, Selig, 79, shaped the downtown skyline in the 1970s and 1980s with landmark projects including the 76-story Columbia Center, the Pacific Northwest’s tallest building.
His firm now controls more than 4 million square feet of buildings, with several additional projects under development. Last year, he joined the building boom in South Lake Union, buying the site of a Firestone auto-repair garage for a reported $17.5 million.
Forbes has estimated his net worth at more than $1.1 billion.
Selig recently has been in the news as a co-host of an upcoming high-dollar Seattle fundraiser for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He’s been a major GOP political donor, giving more than $73,000 in support of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Records show he has not yet given money to Trump.
Despite his wealth, this is not the first time Selig has accumulated big debts to City Light and other creditors.
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In 2006, Selig’s overdue power bill reached $1 million, prompting City Light officials, after months of haggling, to threaten to cut off power to his buildings. During a real-estate downturn in the 1990s, he faced foreclosures, bankruptcies and lawsuits from unpaid contractors.
Selig’s holdings include some 20 office and residential buildings clustered in the downtown, Belltown, Queen Anne and Interbay areas.
Nine of those properties have fallen more than $100,000 past due on their City Light accounts, according to utility records.
The largest delinquency is on Selig’s 3101 Western Avenue building, adjacent to the Olympic Sculpture Park and overlooking Elliott Bay. The eight-story, 187,000-square-foot building, which is close to fully leased, has unpaid electric bills dating back to April that total more than $300,000.
If the company sticks to a payment schedule outlined by Selig manager Matt Alisch in an email to City Light last week, it would bring its accounts to no more than 45 days outstanding by the end of the year.
“We have had correspondence with Mr. Selig’s representatives and we have given them a payment plan … if there is any deviation from this plan, we will need to look at next steps,” Thomsen said.