Published: Friday, April 14, 2006
Candidate pays off business back taxes
Chuck Blasdel, a 6th Congressional District Republican candidate, settled a dispute with the state over estimated back taxes and fees owed by two defunct businesses he co-owned.
The attorney general's office had stated Executive Cigar Inc. and Blasdel Cline Inc., the two former businesses, owed $54,916 in estimated delinquent taxes and fees dating back to 1991.
On Monday, Attorney General Jim Petro said Blasdel owed about $50,000 and was "going to have to borrow money to pay the debt."
Blasdel and his congressional campaign had insisted since The Vindicator first reported the tax issue last month that the estimated delinquent tax and fee figure was far off the mark. Also, Blasdel said he didn't know about the tax issue until the newspaper notified his campaign about it.
On Thursday, Blasdel, the Ohio House speaker pro tempore, said the businesses actually owed $9,493 in taxes, interest and penalties, and that he paid $3,566 to the state.
That amount was to satisfy 13 tax judgments against the two companies.
The remaining $5,927 is for franchise taxes, filing fees, penalties and other interest owed to the state by the two businesses, said Jessica Towhey, Blasdel's congressional campaign spokesman. Blasdel, of East Liverpool, will pay that amount shortly, she said.
"It's unfortunate the attorney general doesn't know what's going on in his office," Towhey said. "Also, Chuck doesn't have to borrow any money."
The Blasdel campaign provided a letter Thursday from Becky S. Cassidy, the attorney general's business collections supervisor, "confirming receipt of [Blasdel's] payment."
Kim Norris, an attorney general spokeswoman, said state law doesn't permit her to disclose how much money Blasdel paid the state. But she said it was enough to satisfy the outstanding tax judgments against the two businesses.
Blasdel was one of four partners in Executive Cigar and one of two partners in Blasdel Cline (the other partner in that business is deceased). Blasdel said he was only responsible for his shares of the taxes, interest and penalties but agreed to pay the full amount to close this issue.
Blasdel said his share of the amount owed to the state was $2,717.
Executive Cigar opened in late 1996 and closed in December 1999, but the company wasn't dissolved until 2002. Blasdel Cline operated between Jan. 25, 1990, and Dec. 30, 1994.
The estimated back taxes and fees are determined by the Ohio Department of Taxation.
Here's the procedure
Though Gary Gudmundson, a department spokesman, can't specifically speak about Blasdel's case, he said companies need to follow a certain protocol with the state when they close. If that procedure isn't followed, the department assumes the businesses are open and are failing to pay taxes, Gudmundson said.
"If you don't notify us you're out of business, that number can add up quickly," Gudmundson said. "You can't just walk away from a business without telling the state."
Democrats have attempted to capitalize on Blasdel's tax issue in one of only a handful of close contested congressional races in the country. National and state Democrats are backing the write-in candidacy of state Sen. Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville in the party's May 2 primary.
"Only Chuck Blasdel would think he's solved his ethical and legal problems by only partially paying what he owes in back taxes," said Adrienne Elrod, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman.
The DCCC began airing television and radio commercials Wednesday supporting Wilson in the Youngstown and Wheeling, W.Va., markets. Those media markets cover four counties that make up a majority of the voters in the 12-county district.
The radio commercial is a country twang-sounding song including the line, "George Bush will feel the pain when you write in Charlie's name."
The TV ad states Republicans are attacking Wilson because he fought big oil and gas companies.
Ed Patru, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, said the DCCC recently accepted $35,000 from corporate oil and gas political action committees, and the DCCC ad for Wilson could have been paid in part by that PAC money.