PENDLETON - Umatilla County will recover $39,600 of $66,000 it's owed in property taxes which have gone unpaid since the collapse of communications giant WorldCom.

WorldCom owed $2.3 million to a dozen counties when it declared bankruptcy two years ago. The counties joined forces and negotiated a deal to recover about 60 percent of the money.

Paul Chalmers, director of Umatilla County Assessment and Taxation, confirmed Umatilla County's portion of the settlement Wednesday. The county is confident enough that it's already factored the income into its budget, he added.

Multnomah County stands to lose the most in the arrangement between MCI WorldCom and the counties. The unpaid tax bill in the county totaled just over $1 million, with recovery of $641,000.

Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Douglas, Josephine, Linn, Lane, Marion an Tillamook counties also participated in the bankruptcy proceeding against WorldCom.

In June 2002, WorldCom announced it had uncovered nearly $4 billion in hidden expenses - the beginning of a spiral that would become the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. The fraud is now estimated at $11 billion.

WorldCom filed for bankruptcy July 21, 2002. It emerged from bankruptcy protection in April, changing its name to MCI and with new headquarters in McLean, Va.

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