Published: Thursday, March 16, 2006
Blasdel's check for property taxes bounces, getting Dems' criticism
A Democratic candidate's business had to pay a delinquent tax bill in 1997.
State Rep. Charles Blasdel, considered the leading Republican candidate in the 6th Congressional District race and an investment adviser by trade, bounced a check when he tried to pay his property taxes recently.
The Columbiana County treasurer's office received a $542.68 check for a full-year tax payment March 3 from the personal bank account belonging to Blasdel and his wife, Lisa. The check was for taxes on nine largely undeveloped properties near his Harvard Avenue home in East Liverpool.
A treasurer clerk said the office deposited the check March 6 and had it returned by Blasdel's bank Tuesday. The treasurer's office sent a letter Wednesday to Blasdel and his wife about the bounced check.
Blasdel's bank had previously told him about the problem, and the Ohio House speaker pro-tempore wrote another check to the county Wednesday, said Jessica Towhey, his campaign spokesman.
What opposition said
"Because of this, [Blasdel] is the perfect Republican candidate for Congress fiscally irresponsible and a deficit spender," said Jason Burke, campaign manager for state Sen. Charles Wilson, a Democratic write-in candidate for the 6th District seat. "It's no wonder Washington, D.C., Republicans recruited him."
Blasdel is an investment adviser and president of Blasdel Financial Group Inc. He's in his third term as a state representative and is the former chairman of the legislative body's banking, pensions and securities committee. Wilson served on that committee with Blasdel.
"It's interesting that someone the people of Ohio had looked to oversee the financial institutions in the state did this," Burke said.
The bounced check was an honest mistake, and as soon as Blasdel learned about the issue, he immediately took care of the problem, Towhey said.
She points out that Wilson's business had a tax problem in 1997.
The state's Department of Taxation successfully sued Wilson Funeral & Furniture Co., owned by the state senator, in Belmont County Common Pleas Court over the company's failure to pay corporate franchise taxes. The company had to pay a $1,007.19 delinquent tax fine, court records show.
Burke said the corporate franchise tax was an honest oversight made by a company that's been in business for about 50 years, and the business didn't bounce a check.
"Charlie Wilson hasn't even managed to get his name on the ballot and he's already launching a negative campaign against Chuck Blasdel," Towhey said.
This is the latest twist in the 6th Congressional District race that has garnered national attention. The 12-county district includes all of Columbiana County and a portion of Mahoning.
Wilson was considered the leading Democratic candidate in the race. But he was disqualified last month for failing to get the required 50 valid signatures from registered voters on his nominating petitions. He opted to run as a write-in candidate in the Democratic primary.