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HGTV 'Dream Home' has become tax nightmare for house winner

UPI News Service, 06/23/2005 

Winning a $1.5 million dream mansion has turned into a nightmare for an unemployed Illinois man who can't afford the $663,000 in federal and property taxes.

Don Cruz, 40, moved his family into the Tyler, Texas, mansion last month after winning it in the Home and Garden Television "Dream Home" sweepstakes.

The trouble is he doesn't know how to come up with the $631,000 in federal taxes due by April, and $32,300 in property and school taxes.

Wednesday, he went to the Tyler city council to seek permission to rent out parts of the property, opening a bed and breakfast, and charging for public tours.

The council denied permission, saying commercial activity is not allowed on a residentially zoned property, the Dallas Morning News said.

Afterward, Cruz said he didn't know how he'll come up with the money, but he would not put the mansion on the market.

"We're going to try everything we can to stay," Cruz said. "God gave us this house. It's not for sale."

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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