In case you missed it, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and his wife Lolita have finally agreed to terms with Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral over an Embassy Row home they agreed to lease in 2015. The Huffington Post broke the story on the Zinke’s legal battle with the church.
After signing a one-year lease of the home in December 2015, the Zinke’s sought to void the agreement just three months later and, according to the court documents, failed to pay the $5,800 a month rent. The church was forced to sue the Zinke’s, trying to collect $66,000 in unpaid rent and fees.
In what can only be described as a frivolous countersuit, the Zinke’s claimed the two-million-dollar home was uninhabitable and sought an undisclosed amount for ‘physical injuries and emotional distress.’ Remember, Secretary Zinke, a self-proclaimed outdoorsman, was the former Team Leader for SEAL Team Six, which he used to raise money during his Congressional race.
This isn’t the first we have heard of the Zinkes failing to pay their debts. The Zinkes and their businesses have been delinquent on taxes at least seven times in their home county of Flathead, Montana, and two of their businesses were on the Flathead County Delinquent Tax List for more than $3,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. However, when asked by Congress in a questionnaire during his nomination to the Interior Department if Zinke or his spouse had ever paid any tax penalties or been subject to other tax collection procedures? He simply said, no.
The Zinke’s have also had at least two businesses dissolved by the State of Montana for a failure to file reports and pay fees. Zinke failed to file the legally required Annual Reports and fees several times since 2012. On December 18, 2016, Ryan Zinke submitted his OGE Form 278e Public Financial Disclosure Report. The report indicated that Zinke received the following income in 2016:
The disclosure form also indicates that both companies are controlled by Ryan Zinke. One of those businesses, Double Tap LLC, manages property in Whitefish. One of the structures pictured below appears to be completely uninhabitable, yet Zinke is still claiming rental income on his financial disclosure report.
Double Tap LLC owns the following property in Montana according to Flathead County: