Feds Were Supposed to Get Cut
Burning Man Promoters Stiff the BLM

  By Dave Woodson
  
Lovelock Review-Miner

Burning Man has burned the Bureau of Land Management for several thousand dollars in unpaid fees.
"They owe us money and they haven't paid," Mike Bilbo of the BLM's Winnemucca office said.
Bilbo estimated the Burning Man organization owes the BLM between $8,000 and $9,000. However, he said he could not put his finger on an exact amount because even the federal agency does not know how much revenue was collected during the three-day event held in the Black Rock Desert over Labor Day weekend.
"Normally what the permittee pays the government is three percent of the gross," Bilbo said. "So I need to find out, 'what was their official gross?'"
Bilbo said he had heard that there were about 7,000 official visitors at



the Burning Man event this year. "So if they are paying $40 a pop, that is a big bunch of money," he said.
If Bilbo's figures are correct, the Burning Man event took in $280,000 in admission charges. "They owe us something like $8.000," he said.
The exact figure, using Bilbo's paid admittance numbers, is $8,400.
And the bill is long overdue.
"I think they [Burning Man] had an agreement that they would pay within 14 days after the event," Bilbo said.
That arrangement is unusual, Bilbo said. He said regulations require payment in advance but that a special
stipulation was made in the case of


 
Burning Man most likely because the organization would not be able to ascertain its revenues until after the event had been held.
Bilbo said he has been unable to make contact with Burning Man organizers. He said he was preparing a certified letter to send to the Burning Man organization.
Repeated attempts by the Lovelock Review-Miner to contact organizers of the Burning Man event have also failed.
The BLM for the moment has put a halt on any further activities on BLM land by the Burning Man group, the federal official said.
"All actions are flagged for 1997 until we hear from them and they come in and settle their account," Bilbo said.
"If he [the organizer] doesn't do it within the time period we are going to give him, the next phase is one he probably doesn't want


 


to hear about," Bilbo said. He said that the agency was prepared to take legal action against Burning Man.
"I don't knowif he is ready for the big one," Bilbo warned. "It is pretty serious."
Bilbo said that the BLM's recreational program does not receive any Congressional funding. "We have to figure out [how] to get itfrom other sources... We can use it [the money]."
He said while the recreation program would not receive all of the revenues, it would get a portion that would be used for activities within Nevada.


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