Dearborn Heights organization HYPE Athletics is currently fighting a battle to save their nonprofit status—an effort that is taking them to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
HYPE founder Ali Sayed said in a letter recently released to the community that the City of Dearborn Heights has assessed the organization with a tax bill for $200,000. This comes, he added, after the organization took “extra measures to ensure HYPE would not be assessed any taxes.”
Now, HYPE is looking at the possibility of major cuts as it grapples with the possibility of a mounting tax bill.
HYPE was formed in 2001 in Dearborn, and, according to Sayed, was awarded nonprofit status in 2006. The HYPE Recreation Center was constructed starting in 2010, and opened in 2012 in Dearborn Heights, off of Warren Avenue. The organization serves tens of thousands of individuals and families annually in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and beyond through health, education, mentoring and other programs.
The unexpected cost of those taxes, Sayed said, could be devastating to HYPE’s programs.
“Unanticipated expenses such as this could cripple programs such as substance abuse prevention and education, mentoring, tutoring, homework assistance, health education and so much more,” Sayed said.
According to the Dearborn Press and Guide, the City of Dearborn Heights said the issue lies with the organization’s nonprofit application, which was incomplete.
“If you’re qualified, you’re qualified,” Mayor Dan Paletko told the Press and Guide.
While HYPE awaits a hearing with the Michigan Tax Tribunal, the organization has also started a petition to urge community members to state their support for HYPE as a nonprofit entity.
Sayed said they’ve seen a “flood of supportive emails and petitions signed” since the matter came into public light in January. He added that HYPE’s not looking to start a war with the City of Dearborn Heights; just to preserve their tax-exempt status.
“HYPE is genuinely committed to a positive outcome and relationship with the City of Dearborn Heights Mayor and City Council,” Sayed said.