The Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy follows up on that Advance Indiana post with a story in today's paper, which yielded a variety of responses from those on the list. Some of the folks are not the least bit happy with the Treasurer's office online database, which they contend has outdated information. "[Rozelle] Boyd and [Patrice] Abduallah were among several elected Democrats whose names popped up on local blogs as having been late in paying their tax bills, based on property tax records that had been posted on the treasurer's Web site until bills were due," O'Shaughnessy. Well, there is at least an acknowledgement the story came from "the blogs."
He takes Abduallah, in particular, to task because he took a trip to the Super Bowl last winter while his taxes were unpaid. O'Shaughnessy writes:
Abduallah said the money for the tickets and trip were a gift, so he couldn't have used the money to pay the $533 he owed at the time in property taxes on his District 15 home. He now owes $1,084.
"At the time, I didn't have any money," Abduallah said. "Someone graciously paid my way for those tickets."
Asked who paid for the tickets and trip, Abduallah said: "That's none of your business."
A Super Bowl ticket cost $600. How much his flight and accommodations might have cost was unknown.
Here's what the rest of the Marion Co. Democratic leaders had to say about their unpaid taxes:
City-County Councilor Rozelle Boyd: "Rozelle Boyd, a Democratic stalwart since the council was formed in 1970, also attended the February game in Miami. Records show he owed about $2,100 in taxes from last year at the time. Marion County treasurer's office records show Boyd paid his entire bill this month -- plus an overpayment of about $900. Boyd declined to say why he did not pay the November bill." "There's nothing to explain," he said. "The taxes are all paid, and this was handled in the same way as it would have been for any other citizen. There is no story."
Marion Co. Auditor Billie J. Breaux: "Treasurer records show Auditor Billie Breaux paid her November 2006 tax bill of nearly $600 on Dec. 21. However, Breaux, whose office processes tax exemptions and helps oversee the collection process, said she didn't recall paying her taxes late." "Maybe I got busy and didn't pay as close attention as I should, but it doesn't happen often," Breaux said. "As a responsible citizen, I take it very seriously to pay taxes on time."
City-County Councilor Lonnell Conley: "Records show Lonnell Conley, the Democratic majority leader on the council, owed nearly $1,500 last year. He paid most of what he owed in January and the rest earlier this month. "I know it's been paid," he said. "His name remained on the list, however, because the records are sometimes out of date and do not reflect recent payments."
Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer: "Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer said he refinanced his property last November, and the title company paid the mortgage a few days late. As a result, the Web site showed he owed about $1,300 last year." "Their system is totally wrong," Drummer said. "I've never been late in my property taxes."
Center Township Constable Tony Duncan: "Center Township Constable Mark "Tony" Duncan isn't happy about showing up on the list, either. He said he bought his mother's house from his sister this month and immediately paid the nearly $1,400 owed in last year's property taxes. The treasurer confirmed receiving the payment. "