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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana tax authorities say a judge has turned back former billionaire Tim Blixseth's bid for $3.3 million in attorney fees following unsuccessful efforts to force him into bankruptcy.

State officials said U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William Thurman in Nevada halted proceedings on the fees Friday while the state appeals the bankruptcy case.

Montana officials want $57 million in alleged back taxes from Blixseth, a Washington state resident. But his team of dozens of attorneys has so far prevailed in the case.

If the state's appeal fails, federal law says he can be repaid for his legal expenses.

Blixseth founded and enriched himself off Montana's ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club before the resort went into bankruptcy in 2008. He's put most of his assets into a Nevada trust out of reach from his creditors.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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