Don Shula Can't Pay Neighborhood Tax Increase: Wife

We could blame this on Jeff Ireland if pressed. Or eat more steak.

By Janie Campbell
|  Wednesday, May 12, 2010  |  Updated 7:05 PM EDT
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Greatest Dolphins

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MIAMI - OCTOBER 24: Former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula stands on the sidelines before their game against the St. Louis Rams at Pro Player Stadium on October 24, 2004 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins won 31-14. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

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Is Don Shula going broke? It could be considered separate business that the Dolphins coaching legend's wife Mary Anne is suing her dead ex-husband's son in fear he'll drain the estate that pays her $1 million a year in alimony. 

But just a couple weeks ago, Mrs. Shula claimed the NFL's all-time winningest coach and proprietor of Shula's Steakhouses couldn't afford to pay a proposed tax for the ultra-exclusive Indian Creek neighborhood in which they live, and both instances combined have us joining the New Times in wondering if Don Shula is, in fact, going broke.

"My husband is 80 years old," Mary Ann Shula said in front of neighbors in opposition to the tax assessment, according to the New Times. "He's on the back nine of his life. Don is unable to do talks and signings like he used to. If our taxes go up, he'll suffer... What gives you the right to do this?"

The levy passed anyway, but the catch is that the Shulas didn't even have to purchase the house; the 13,300-square foot mansion, worth $4.14 million, was awarded to Mary Ann Shula in the split from third hubby Jackson Stephens, Sr., along with the $250,000 quarterly for life.

Despite her allegations in the alimony court case, which she's lost once already, Mrs. Shula's stepson has never missed an alimony payment to her -- and the proposed tax the couple was fighting at Indian Creek was just a few thousand dollars. Either she's one stingy lady, or the couple's Nutrisystem endorsement deal isn't that sweet.

Of course, if Coach Shula is in dire financial straits, there's no shame in it. Everyone's going broke! Bankruptcy papers are the new tramp stamp! But there's something uncomfortable about an old hero all of a sudden looking a little extra fallible, and it'll be sad if a shuffling Shula is soon to be shoved into a thousand convention centers for $10 a scraggly signature. Whatever the current Dolphins are up to is embarrassing enough.

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