Multimillionaire Victor Posner pleaded no contest yesterday to charges of evading more than $1.2 million in federal income taxes by inflating the value of land donated to a Miami Bible college.
U.S. District Judge Eugene P. Spellman accepted the plea, ending a legal battle that started in March 1979. A 1986 conviction in the case had been set aside because of jury irregularities, and a retrial had been set for Nov. 2.
Posner, a 69-year-old Miami Beach industrialist and pioneer corporate raider whose holdings include controlling interests in Royal Crown Cola, Sharon Steel and Arby's, pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to evade income taxes, four counts of tax evasion and five counts of making false statements in a tax return.
His attorney, Edward Bennett Williams of Washington, said Posner's age was a factor in the plea. Williams said that if Posner had been convicted in a new trial he could be before the court for sentencing after exhausting his appeals "at the age of 73." Spellman set sentencing for Dec. 4. Posner, who remains free on bond, faces penalties of up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $75,000.