The Orlando Airport Hyatt has to pay its taxes -- $3.8 million worth. That was the ruling last week by Judge Rogers Turner in a five-year-old lawsuit by Orange County Tax Assessor Richard Crotty. The Airport Authority, which owns the hotel and pays Hyatt to manage it, argued that the hotel serves a "public purpose" akin to a jail or school, and should be exempt. But the Orange County circuit judge found that the Hyatt was run as a profit-making business in competition with similar businesses that pay taxes.
Crotty has a related suit aimed at collecting property taxes from the almost 100 concessions operating at the airport, and at Executive Airport on Highway 50. Those businesses owe about $450,000 in taxes each year, Crotty reckons, as they compete with similar businesses off airport property. The hotel ruling strengthens the other case, Crotty said. But Aviation Authority Director Egerton Van Den Berg said he'll probably appeal.