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A.D. May Lose Club Over Unpaid Back Taxes

By Nathan C. Strauss, Crimson Staff Writer

In March 2008, the City of Cambridge took possession of the A.D. Club—the final club conspicuously located at the corner of Plympton Street and Mass. Ave.—for failure to pay over $41,000 in taxes.

According to a government document obtained by The Crimson, the club fell short on its 2007 tax payment and did not subsequently make up the difference when the city first contacted the club in the summer of 2007.

A member of the City of Cambridge Finance Department—who declined to be named because the document is confidential—said that the club has begun paying off the back taxes and interest but that city records show that it is still approximately $17,000 short.

The individual said that the club still retains physical possession of the building, but that the document—signed by Louis A. Depasquale, the assistant city manager for fiscal affairs—constitutes a lien on the property, which will be seized if the club fails to pay the unpaid taxes and accrued interest.

The A.D. is one of Harvard’s eight final clubs—all male social organizations that are no longer affiliated with the University.

Several A.D. alumni, listed as corporate officers or directors on the club’s 2007 tax filing, said they had no knowledge of the back taxes when contacted last night.

After a Crimson reporter left a voicemail for Michael L. Madden ’76—whose signature appears on the 2007 tax forms as the vice president and clerk of the A.D.—a man identifying himself only as Madden’s “representative” called The Crimson and threatened potential legal action.

“You are blinded by your hatred of final clubs. The Harvard Crimson should have other news besides the tax matters of the A.D. Club,” he said. “We are going to have to go to our lawyers if this continues.”

Madden later called The Crimson and said that he thought the remainder of the back taxes had already been paid. When asked for a reason for the initial shortfall, Madden said that the club “just didn’t pay the taxes.”

Current A.D. member Charles T. Boutwell ’10 also declined to comment on the back taxes.

“I don’t think you’ll get anyone in the club to comment about it,” he said.

While college fraternities and social clubs are tax-exempt organizations—the A.D. bills itself as a “members only social club of alumni of Harvard University” on the tax filing—the club rents the first floor of the building to Adidas and must pay taxes on that income.

Several other clubs also own property in the Square that they rent to local businesses. The Porcellian owns the building occupied by Sandrine’s Bistro, the Fly leases space to J. Press, and the Spee leases part of its building to Schoenhof’s Foreign Books.

In 2007, the most recent year for which the A.D.’s tax filings are publicly available, the club earned $320,000 in revenues from the Adidas store, with almost $60,000 in net income. In 2006, the club lost more than $44,000 on the store.

The A.D.’s building and land, at 1270 Mass. Ave., is currently valued at over $3.6 million, according to the Cambridge Property Database.

—Staff writer Paras D. Bhayani contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Nathan C. Strauss can be reached at strauss@fas.harvard.

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