Fulton GOP Hits Democratic Candidate Over Unpaid Taxes, Other Problems

October 4, 2012 12:01 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 24 comments

The Fulton County Republican Party has sent out a press release drawing attention to unpaid federal and state tax liens outstanding against Lynn Brown McKinney, the Democratic nominee for State House District 54 in Fulton. McKinney faces House Whip Edward Lindsey in the November 6 election.

“According to court records, Ms. McKinney presently has over $43,000 in federal and state tax liens,” Bonds said. “There is no evidence on record of her contesting these tax liens or putting into place a payment plan with the IRS and Georgia Department of Revenue.”

House Democratic leadership are hosting a fundraiser for McKinney tonight.

Full release and supporting documents below the fold.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Roger Bonds, Chair
Fulton County Republican Party

So what kind of candidate does the Georgia Democratic Party believe is fit to serve in the Georgia House?

Leaving the Democratic Party for the Republican Party is one quick way for the Georgia Democratic Party to denounce one of its candidates as unqualified for office. However,the party has been noticeably silent about its candidates with long-standing debt, tax and bankruptcy liabilities.

In fact, the state Democratic hierarchy gathers this week to celebrate a candidate who has an extensive history of not fulfilling her debt and tax liabilities.

On Thursday, October 4th, Ms. Lynn Brown McKinney, the Democratic nominee for State House District 54 in Fulton County, is the honoree of a fundraiser hosted by Democratic legislative leaders from around the state.

This action has raised serious concerns from Republican leaders in Fulton County including Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, House Committee Chairman Tom Rice, House Committee Chairman Chuck Martin, House Committee Chairman Wendell Willard,
House Committee Chairman Joe Wilkinson, House Committee Vice Chairman Harry Geisinger, House Committee Vice Chairman Lynne Riley, former GOP State Party Chairman Rusty Paul, former GOP State Party Chairman Bob Shaw, and Fulton County
Republican Party Chairman Roger Bonds.

“Before making their donations, however, these Democratic state and legislative leaders should demand answers about her fitness to make decisions about taxpayer dollars when she can’t seem to manage her own finances,” said Fulton County Republican Party Chair Roger Bonds. “Her personal tribulations with debt and tax liabilities even call into
question her fitness for office.”

Bonds noted Article II, Section II, Paragraph III, of the Georgia Constitution states in part:

“No person who . . . is a defaulter for any federal, state, county, municipal, or school system taxes required of such officeholder or candidate if such person has been finally adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to owe those taxes, but such ineligibility may be removed at any time by full payment thereof, or by making payments to the
tax authority pursuant to a payment plan, . . . shall be eligible to hold any office or appointment of honor or trust in this state.”

“According to court records, Ms. McKinney presently has over $43,000 in federal and state tax liens,” Bonds said. “There is no evidence on record of her contesting these tax liens or putting into place a payment plan with the IRS and Georgia Department of Revenue.” (A copy of the filed tax liens is attached.)

According to Bonds, Federal and State court records, as well as her recently filed Personal Financial Disclosure with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (“state ethics commission”), raise additional questions as to this matter.

Records from Fulton County show that Ms. McKinney’s home in Buckhead Forest was foreclosed upon for non payment of her mortgage. Records from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Georgia, reveal she also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and the matter is still open. The schedules on her bankruptcy petition make no
reference to outstanding tax obligations, which are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and the latest report filed by the bankruptcy trustee on April 30, 2012, shows no evidence of payments to satisfy tax obligations. (A copy of these court records is also attached.)

Ms. McKinney’s recently filed Personal Financial Disclosure – which was filed two months late and is subject to late fines of $1375.00 under O.C.G.A. 21-5-50 (f)(1) — reveals no assets or employment. This disclosure can be found at http://media.ethics.ga.gov/search/Financial/Financial_Details.aspx?FilerID=F2012013258.

“Holding public office is a public trust and it is incumbent of candidates and their party supporters to make full disclosures of relevant matters to assure the citizens of Georgia of a candidate’s ability to serve and protect their interest at the State Capitol,” Bonds said. “This is especially true in terms of meeting tax obligations.”

Bonds challenged the Democratic Party leadership hosting Ms. McKinney’s fundraiser to do the following:

1. Demand that Ms. McKinney lay out immediately to the public any documentary evidence of payment plans for past due taxes with the IRS and the Georgia Department of Revenue;
2. Require that she show through documentation whether she is current under any such plans;
3. Demonstrate through documentation that Ms. McKinney has paid all late fines owed to the state ethics commission under O.C.G.A. 21-5-50 (f)(1) (under the Rules of the Georgia House of Representatives, failure to pay ethics fines bars a member from serving on any House Committee); and
4. Explain why they believe someone who does not pay her own taxes on time should hold an office that gives her the power to tax others.

“The people of Georgia deserve nothing less,” he said.

###

Supporting documents:
Federal Tax Liens
State Tax Liens
Bankruptcy Petition
Trustee Report

Corvid October 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

birsd of a feather:
Ms. McKinney & her Leader Stacy Abrams should both try to pay their taxes on time.

Lynn Brown McKinney October 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Much of what is said in this report is true. I have had to deal with the consequences of a financial downturn in my own life. I am not alone in that respect, as many Georgians have suffered setbacks in their lives in recent years. Indeed there are other serving public officials who have had similar problems. The current Speaker of the House has had tax problems himself. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jun/28/david-ralston-pays-late-taxes/

That apparently didn’t disqualify him from being elevated to the most powerful position in the General Assembly. The sitting Governor went bankrupt while he was a candidate. So I do not accept the premise put forth by the Republican party that my problems disqualify me to serve.

After a lifetime of being in strict compliance in all my financial affairs, I ran into a perfect storm of unfortunate events in my life starting in 2005. This included a divorce (I paid alimony as I had been the breadwinner for 25 years), a reduction in my income, and the loss of my home. All of this resulted in complex tax issues, and as a result I had some late filings and late payments. I make no excuses for the failure to file my taxes properly, but since that happened, I have worked both with the appropriate Federal and State agencies and have payment plans and processes in place to pay my tax debts. I also now work with tax consultants and a financial planner to ensure ongoing compliance.

saltycracker October 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Sorry about your personal issues. No citizen should serve in any public office with any outstanding tax or lien obligations. And that includes not until full payment from a scheduled plan.

You should withdraw on your own accord. Using excuses or legislation to do an end around is reflective of a tainted culture.

Calypso October 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm

salty, I disagree with you on this one. If taxes are owed and a mutually agreed upon payment plan is in effect and payments are current, then I believe one should be allowed to serve in office.

saltycracker October 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I call a BS on that one

saltycracker October 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm

As for McKinney your free pass doesn’t seem to apply – processes ? that probably means a plan is being worked on….the idea of a tax challenged legislator, with the logic exhibited above, working on laws impacting my taxes is beyond the pale…..

Calypso October 5, 2012 at 6:21 am

You’re wrong. Tag. You’re it.

saltycracker October 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm

This is not complex: Tax obligations are not paid (cleared up) until they are paid.
Even then, it would be difficult for me to vote for anyone with a bad pay history.

If that expectation for a public servant is wrong, e-mail me tuition to retake ethics 101.

Andre October 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Ultimately, the voters of Georgia’s 54th state House district are the ones who will decide whether owing back taxes disqualifies one to serve in office.

Still, I think it is a question of priorities.

By her own admission, Lynn Brown McKinney “ran into a perfect storm of unfortunate events in my life starting in 2005.” McKinney has an active bankruptcy case on record with the federal courts. She lost her home to foreclosure. Most reasonable people would react to this “perfect storm of unfortunate events” with a laser-like focus towards getting back on their feet. Lynn Brown McKinney chose to run for office.

The time, money, and energy of Lynn Brown McKinney is focused on her campaign for state Representative.

Like I said, it’s a question of priorities; and the voters of Georgia’s 54th state House district will have to decide what is more of a priority to them: consistent leadership from Rep. Lindsey or tax liens and bankruptcies from Lynn Brown McKinney.

Calypso October 5, 2012 at 6:19 am

I’m not disagreeing with the scenario you spell-out and its associated concerns, Andre. I do believe, as I stated, if back taxes are owed and a payment plan has been agreed to and is current, one should be allowed to hold office.

Andre October 5, 2012 at 8:34 am

I’m not disagreeing with you either, Calypso.

Even the Constitution of the State of Georgia says that the officeholder’s or candidate’s ineligibility may be removed “at any time by full payment thereof, or by making payments to the tax authority pursuant to a payment plan or under such other conditions as the General Assembly may provide by general law.”

Lynn Brown McKinney admits that she owes back taxes. Liens filed with the Clerk of Fulton County Superior Court by both the Georgia Department of Revenue (GADOR) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirm that McKinney is delinquent on paying her taxes.

The question, however, is whether Lynn Brown McKinney set up a payment plan with either the GADOR or the IRS to pay those delinquent taxes.

Fulton County Republican Party Chairman Roger Bonds asked that question in his press release.

In fact, Bonds demanded McKinney “lay out immediately to the public any documentary evidence of payment plans for past due taxes with the IRS and the Georgia Department of Revenue;” and “show through documentation whether she is current under any such plans.”

If Lynn Brown McKinney is making payments towards the back taxes she owes, she needs to prove it.

This whole thing goes away with a press release from McKinney that says, “Like many Georgians, I faced some tough financial times in this tough economy. Unfortunately, I fell behind on my taxes, but I am taking active steps towards paying what I owe. I negotiated a payment agreement with both the IRS and the Georgia Department of Revenue, and I am releasing that agreement today. To date, I have made [xxx] payments towards meeting my tax obligations.”

It’s that simple and it puts this whole thing in the rear-view mirror of the McKinney campaign.

If, on the other hand, Lynn Brown McKinney has not made a single payment towards her tax debts; if McKinney has not set up a payment plan with the IRS or the Georgia Department of Revenue, then she is ineligible under Georgia’s state Constitution.

So, Calypso, we are essentially saying the same thing.

If McKinney is making payments, she can run for office (although I question McKinney’s priorities, given her precarious financial state). If not, she needs to be ruled ineligible.

Calypso October 5, 2012 at 9:31 am

We are right, Andre. You and I. salty is the recalcitrant one here.

saltycracker October 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Wasn’t I clear that just because the law is ok with payments, I’m not, the issue is not resolved until the bill is paid and for me the episude is a continuing problem. She sure has no grounds for working on laws that impact me.

My opinion, she should tend to her business until she sees daylight and not worry about mine.

Buzz Brockway October 5, 2012 at 7:55 am

What the article fails to mention that tax problems the Speaker had with the Feds were caused by an employee of his who said she was making the tax deposits but stealing the money. The woman went to jail and Ralston paid the taxes before he became Speaker.

Buzz Brockway October 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

Also, Governor Deal never went bankrupt, his daughter and son-in-law did. Deal got stuck with the bill and he’s paying it off.

wicker October 5, 2012 at 9:42 am

Sorry, but the party of Sonny Perdue, Nathan Deal, Glenn Richardson, Casey Cagle, David Ralston and John Oxendine is not in any position to lecture anyone on personal and financial ethics. Clean up your own mess before worrying about someone else’s. Talking about her “priorities” … shouldn’t dealing with his pending ethics investigation in the House of Representatives have been Nathan Deal’s priority? Or shouldn’t Nathan Deal have ended his political career until he worked through his many issues? Also, I didn’t recall anything like this from you or the Georgia GOP when Jill Chambers, the woman who was the main anti-MARTA leader for the Georgia GOP, filed for bankruptcy.
http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2010/10/20/when-a-fiscal-watchdog-files-for-bankruptcy/

I am sorry, but until the Georgia GOP starts electing a better bunch of people, you forfeit the ethics issue. Take this garbage and the blatant double standard that it represents and toss it out with the trash.

P.S. Enough with the “Leaving the Democratic Party for the Republican Party is one quick way for the Georgia Democratic Party to denounce one of its candidates as unqualified for office.” Of course it is. It puts the Democratic Party in a no-win situation. No matter who wins that election, they lose that seat. Instead of criticizing the Democrats over this, criticize the candidate for not switching parties NOW. Please recall that Phil Gramm resigned from office when he left the Democratic Party for the GOP, ran for office again as a Republican and won it back. None of these opportunistic Georgia party switchers had that type of integrity. They all switched while they were safely in office. (Also, Gramm switched parties when Texas was still a heavily Democratic state run by people like Bob Bullock, Lloyd Bentsen and Ann Richards.)

Considering the caliber of people who scurried like rats from a sinking ship from the Democrats to the GOP, it is no wonder this state is in the mess that it is in.

jillchambers October 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Send me an email and I will forward you a copy of the CERTIFIED court documents to show how attorney Jonathan Benator of the law firm Weissman Nowack used ALTERED Court documents to seize my campaign money a month before the election.

They actually had someone handwrite my name on a judgment against my ex-husband and submitted that as a true copy of a Court document.

I have certified copies of Mr. Benator’s false affidavit as filed in Gwinnett State Court and false filings by his law firm in Federal Court (a felony).

These documents were presented in a Hearing in the Federal Court. The Trustee, Neil Gordon of Arnall Golden Gregory, investigated.

Case 10-90157-crm, Document 114, filed 2/27/12 in Federal Court by Trustee:

“….Jonathan Benator, and Weissman Nowack Curry & Wilco, PC (“WNCW”), relating to an affidavit of garnishment on behalf of Miami Circle in which it was incorrectly stated that Miami Circle was a judgment creditor…there was no judgment against the Debtor (Jill Chambers).

This resulted in Wachovia Bank freezing several bank accounts belonging to Debtor, including an account into which Debtor had deposited campaign contributions that she received from her political supporters.”

Devastatingly effective way to cheat and steal an election, don’t you think??

Stefan October 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

Whether you owe back taxes or pay a very low rate is often down to the quality of your accountant. There are many people out there, some of whom hold elected office in this state, who believe the income tax to be unconstitutional and that any effort to avoid it is legitimate. I’m not one of those, but I do appreciate the gumption of a candidate who comes onto Peach Pundit to give her side of the story, knowing she is unlikely to receive a very warm reception.

When marking up the candidate report card, that effort deserves a high grade.

Calypso October 5, 2012 at 11:09 am

Peach Pundit’s commenters are a bastion of cordiality and to say otherwise is not a cromulent assessment of the situation at hand.

saltycracker October 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

No, she deserves to be heard, treated with respect and flunked from the class. There was acknowledgment/judgement the taxes were due to the people. Forgiveness is not an absence of consequences.

saltycracker October 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm

P.S. Fire the accountant, if you loose in court, pay the taxes, then and only then, run for office and change the income tax law. I’m all for changing the tax code.

Stefan October 6, 2012 at 1:28 am

Right, right, I wasn’t trying to make a point about unpaid taxes, just about coming on to Peach Pundit to defend yourself – that’s the action I was giving high marks to, just so we are clear.

Lea Thrace October 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

So are we just going to discount the many financial AND ethical problems that our Governor had during the campaign and after his election? I am not seeing this is different. Just like with Gov. Deal, the information is out there. Let the people decide if they want her.

saltycracker October 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Throw out all boundaries, give discounts and let the people decide ? you gotta love a mob.

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