Kansas ordered to pay former pizza tycoon $63 million

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – The state of Kansas must pay former pizza manager Gene Bicknell more than $63 million to settle a long-running dispute over his tax bill.

The court ruled Friday that Bicknell was a resident of Florida in 2005 and 2006 when he sold NPC International, which owned more than 800 Pizza Hut locations worldwide.

The Kansas Department of Revenue argued that the Bicknells, a longtime resident of Pittsburgh, established a residence in Florida to avoid paying taxes on the sale in Kansas. In 2010, he ordered him to pay $42 million to the state.

The case went through several courts over the years before being taken up by the state Supreme Court, which sided with Bicknell, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“These findings support his legal conclusion that Gene was domiciled in Florida in 2005 and 2006,” Judge KJ Wall Jr. wrote in the notice.

In 2020, Bicknell said Kansas owed him $63 million — his original tax bill plus interest.

“The Department of Revenue’s approach has always looked like extortion, forcing me and my family to endure hundreds of interrogations, depositions, three trials, three appeals, 15 years of attorney’s time and appearances before an agency board that was a kangaroo court,” Bicknell said in a statement Friday.

The revenue department is reviewing the court’s 75-page decision, spokesman Zach Fletcher said.