Archive for Monday, October 8, 2012

Kansas trailer soon to have Kansas tags

Formerly, it was licensed in Maine

This trailer — not owned by KU — hauls football equipment to games and used to have a Maine license plate.

This trailer — not owned by KU — hauls football equipment to games and used to have a Maine license plate.

October 8, 2012


It is like a rolling billboard for the state of Kansas.

The big semitrailer that hauls shoulder pads, helmets and other gear for the Kansas University football team to road games is appropriately ablaze in Sunflower State pride. Nearly everywhere you look, ‘Kansas’ is plastered somewhere on the trailer.

Well, almost everywhere. It isn’t on the license plate.

A spokesman with the Kansas University Athletics Department confirmed the trailer for “several” years has sported a license plate from Maine.

Jim Marchiony, an associate athletic director for KU, said the trailer is privately owned and the owner donates the use of the trailer and a driver to the university’s athletic department.

“It is really not our call where it is registered,” Marchiony said.

But, as fate would have it, the vehicle soon will have a Kansas license plate on it. Marchiony said his understanding, from the owner, is the Maine license plate fell off somewhere along the way to the Northern Illinois game two weeks ago.

“He has said now would be as good a time as any to register it in the state of Kansas,” Marchiony said.

Marchiony said the process of getting a new tag for the vehicle was under way. Marchiony declined to release the name of the trailer’s owner, saying the donor had expressed a desire to remain anonymous.

Marchiony said the athletic department is pleased enough that the license plate is being changed, but he said the department didn’t think the out-of-state plate was a problem.

“It doesn’t concern us in the least, as long as it is all done properly,” Marchiony said.

Marchiony said the owner assured him that he had solid legal standing to have the trailer registered in Maine instead of Kansas.

Spokeswomen with both the Douglas County Treasurer’s office and the Douglas County Appraiser’s office said they didn’t have enough information about the specifics of the case to say with certainty whether Kansas law would require the trailer to be registered in Kansas.

But both said generally a trailer that is located in Kansas on Jan. 1 of a year, or otherwise is considered to be based in Kansas, would be expected to have a Kansas license plate. If the owner of the trailer had a business interest in Maine, for example, that generally wouldn’t be enough by itself to qualify the trailer for an out-of-state registration.

Property taxes due on the trailer likely are among the biggest issues related to where the trailer is registered. A license tag for a semitrailer in Kansas costs less than $50. But personal property taxes on a trailer can be significant, depending on the age and value of a trailer, said Karla Grosdidier, a spokeswoman with the Douglas County Appraiser’s office.

“Usually how we find out about trailers to tax is through a license tag,” Grosdidier said.

Marchiony said his understanding is that Maine doesn’t charge personal property tax on semitrailers that are used for interstate commerce.

Marchiony said he was not aware of the trailer ever being in Maine. He said the trailer is mainly kept near Memorial Stadium when it is not hauling gear to an away football game.

The Journal-World learned of the Maine license plate after a jogger in the area reported seeing it. The jogger declined to be interviewed for the story.

Marchiony said he doesn’t think the sight of an out-of-state tag on a trailer that represents Kansas University should cause any type of embarrassment or perception problem for the state.

“It is much ado about nothing,” Marchiony said. “No one has mentioned it to us, until right now.”


midwestmom 5 years, 3 months ago

Hey Marchiony -

I call BS!! By saying, "that's not really our call" is the exact same thing as saying we don't care that our VEHICLES aren't legally registered - like all the personal cars that used to run on dealer tags, too. I have to register my car, RV, etc. here in the State that we live in, that we work in. If I don't, I get a ticket. Do you think the judge will buy "it is much ado about nothing" and go with the I've been getting away with it until now defense? Do the right thing and quit trying to dodge paying taxes on vehicles. What's ridiculous is that you've been getting away with it.

The athletics department needs to re-evaluate what is their responsibility and what isn't. What else aren't you paying attention to? Make a rule - if someone else is paying for the vehicle for you to use (and why is that? Is there some anonymous donor who pays for vehicles for the science department to use?) make sure they are paying for KANSAS tags. Where is the trailer insured? Do you have any proof that its insured?

The team isn't special (duh) and there isn't a separate set of special rules for you, either!

otto 5 years, 3 months ago

Do you have any proof that its insured?

Do you have any proof that you know what you are talking about?

By the way, other than theft or personal property (which would be the owners problem) trailers are insured by the vehicle that is towing it.

Phillbert 5 years, 3 months ago


repaste 5 years, 3 months ago

It is property tax fraud, directly related to how much you and I pay in property tax.

Clickker 5 years, 3 months ago

That trailer needs to be here about 3 months of the year...maybe 5 if Kansas goes to a bowl, and that aint happenin. If I were the owner, I would make damn sure it was parked out of state for the rest of the year.

Enoughsaid 5 years, 3 months ago

This is not shattering news, anybody who has spent much time around the stadium noticed the team trailer. What I do find interesting is that the Maine tag had been expired since 2009 and the semi that has a Kansas tag and large letters on the door WLX llc.

Makes me wonder who this owner is?

Chad Lawhorn 5 years, 3 months ago

We did ask about the expired tags issue. Apparently, in Maine a tag for a commercial trailer is a lifetime tag. Thus even though the tag may have said 2009 on it, there were no annual registration fees due on it, according to KU, who said they spoke to the owner about it. I didn't confirm it with folks in Maine. Thanks, Chad

Nevertheless 5 years, 3 months ago

Let me get this straight...the Maine license plate "fell off." Yeah, that happens all the time. So NOW the vehicle can be registered in Kansas. But before it wasn't registered in Kansas because the owner had "solid legal standing" to register it in Maine? If that is true, why not get a replacement license plate from Maine? This is a great study in double-talk from Jim Marchiony, KU's Associate Athletic Director for Sweeping Crap Under the Rug.

MapMadeMind 5 years, 3 months ago

I have a small collection of license plates (mostly from trailers) found alongside our highways. It must happen more than you would think.

Nevertheless 5 years, 3 months ago

Not really the point. Just a curious coincidence, and very convenient timing for the upstanding KU athletic department...the department that brought you the basketball ticket scandal.

Clickker 5 years, 3 months ago

doesnt surprise me at all. In just about every other state of the union, it would cost the donor about $50 or so to tag that trailer. Since Kansas decides to impose personal property tax on vehicles and trailers, I'll bet it costs a few grand. Probably insignificant to the donor in question, but not so much that they wouldnt try to avoid the TAX ......

Dayna Lee 5 years, 3 months ago

People do this all the time. I'm a Lawrence native, so I've never needed to change my license for myself or my car, but working at a store, I see out of state licenses everyday. I don't think the donor was trying to be deceptive, just lazy. Whoever he or she is----THANKS!

olddognewtrix 5 years, 3 months ago

This is similar to the fact that Brownbacks campaign bus had an Alabama tag as that is where the Koch brothers had leased their fleet of buses to haul all the Tea Party fanatics to rallies around the nation. Olddognewtrix

dougfirst 5 years, 3 months ago

There are several people here in town that avoid paying property taxes. I own a lot of vehicles here in Lawrence and I pay the taxes on all of them. What bothers me is when I drive to Southwest Middle School to drop my daughter off and see a woman pull up every day in a White Yukon Denali with TEXAS plates. She has lived here for more than 15 years and continues to buck the system by not paying taxes in the very state she lives in. I reported her to the Douglas County Treasurers office and they said there was nothing they would do about it. The Treasurers office needs to do something about these kinds of people. She works here, lives here, and her kids go to school here. Why doesn't the Journal World investigate these people.

timetospeakup 5 years, 3 months ago

At least in Johnson County the sheriff's office will take reports of illegally tagged vehicles online, you might try that angle. I know after a few of us reported a neighbor for the same thing, their vehicles were re-tagged in Kansas within a week.

Mark Kostner 5 years, 3 months ago

There should not only be a Kansas plate but a Jayhawk plate. I don't know about Kansas but other states have a custom plate for their state universities. So the Kansas trailer should have a Jayhawk plate with a memorable letter or number sequence that promotes the KU brand.

John Pultz 5 years, 3 months ago

Here's a bigger deal I suggest the LJW investigate: KUEA uses a bank in Montana for its checking account, not a local, or even a Kansas, bank. I would guess the reason is to take advantage of the several day float (KUEA gets interest on the funds over the several days while the check is clearing). This is legal but what does it say about supporting local businesses?

MarcoPogo 5 years, 3 months ago

I was wondering who was going to take that pop-up. Ka-ching!

verity 5 years, 3 months ago

I've lived in several states and Kansas is by far the most expensive state where I've registered a vehicle. I can't find verification right now, but I was told by someone who had just researched it that Kansas has among the highest property taxes in the country.

And with the new income tax laws, our property taxes are going to get even higher---and no doubt even more people will try to avoid registering vehicles here if they can.

And, yeah, license plates just fall off and get lost all the time. I'm always having to avoid squashing them on the road.

Jean Robart 5 years, 3 months ago

yeah, I suspect it had a little help in the form of a wrench and screwdriver

Enoughsaid 5 years, 3 months ago

I just did some research on the tractor that I noticed was hooked up to the trailer. On the door is lettering WLX llc. According to the secretary of Kansas, the owner is John Hein and HSS Transportation of P.O. Box 681127, Riverside MO.

I would be willing to bet the former late Kansas Football Coach Don Fambrough is turning over in his grave knowing a Missouri company is hauling around his Kansas football gear.

windjammer 5 years, 3 months ago

I'll give you 10 to 1 odds Fambrough had players on his team from Missouri.

dougfirst 5 years, 3 months ago

Ironically, I had to go to the courthouse again today to pay more taxes for my vehicles. I again spoke directly to the treasurer's office about people driving out of state tags and living here in Kansas. She informed me that her office does not investigate these types of things. I think someone should look into the Douglas County Treasurer for not doing their job. When someone reports fraud, they should at least have the Sheriff's department go ask that person why they don't have their car registered here. I know for a fact that in Texas you do not have to pay personal property tax on vehicles. This woman is ripping the state of Kansas off to the tune of about $1,000.00 per year.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 3 months ago

Filling your extra time while waiting for the snow to start hitting the sidewalks?

MarcoPogo 5 years, 3 months ago

Oops, wrong thread. Oh well, it kind of works here as well.

mae 5 years, 3 months ago

I read that wondering about my 16ft trailer going across state lines without a plate. Then I finally got to the semi word and WTF??? Heck yeah that thing needs to be state registered. Idiots are not paying attention again.

MapMadeMind 5 years, 3 months ago

And another thing: why are all those darned Uhauls registered in Arizona!

gccs14r 5 years, 3 months ago

Probably has to do with annual business inventory tax in Kansas.

windjammer 5 years, 3 months ago

If any of you would like to know that trailer is perfectly legal as are thousands of trailers registered out of state. That unit when being pulled by a tractor pays by far more taxes than the average driver. Lets start out by paying $550.00 road use taxes for the right to drive it on the highway. Also .19 cents per gallon for fuel. The owner donated a $45,000 dollar trailer to the athletic department for their use. Supplies one or two drivers to haul the equiptment, Gives up 20 days per year to drive that vehicle. Oh and by the way has been doing it for 15 years. He donated to KU because he loves Kansas Football. GO HAWKS

SofaKing 5 years, 3 months ago

In other news, a windshield wiper was found on I-70 at mile marker 221.

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