Friday, January 6, 2017

APP: Red Bank mayor, aided by ex-con's loan, set to payoff tax debt: Similar Situation Similar Thoughts

Early last month the Asbury Park Press reported that Middletown's Stephanie Murray (newly reappointed Deputy-Mayor), had a federal tax lien of $78,000 placed against her and her home on Wallace Rd. was being included in an upcoming County Sheriff's sale.  At the time, I commented on both which you can find HERE and HERE.

It was (and is) my opinion, that if you're an elected official, regardless of party affiliation, if you can not pay your taxes and have a lien of any kind on your property or other holdings, than you shouldn't be in office. After all, if you can't control your own finances, how can taxpayers trust you controlling their tax dollars? Also, one has to consider the possibility that a sitting politician, who is in dire financial straits, could be susceptible to some kind influence pedaling or bribery by someone who may "just want to help" in return for a favorable town ordinance or planning board outcome.  

Do I need to remind everyone of former Township Mayor Ray O'Grady? Remember, he was arrested when he got snagged by the F.B.I.  in Operation Bid Rid and went to jail for bribery and extortion

At the time, I received a few comments, basically calling me a hypocrite, because if the shoe were on the other foot and it was a Democrat, as opposed to a Republican, I wouldn't be so quick to judge or even point out the issue.

In response to that, I point to the December 29th article in the Asbury Park Press which pointed out that Red Bank's Mayor, Pat Menna, has a similar tax federal tax lien against his home as Stephanie Murray has on hers.

Mayor Menna however seems to be open to addressing the issue and has answered questions about his situation. According to Mayor Menna, his financial problems seems to be from a combination of health problems and business losses. Whereas, no one really knows what the situation is with the Murrays. Stephanie Murray is keeping quite about her financial troubles, insisting it's a private matter.

Having a Federal tax lien against you is a serious issue. If you're an elected official, you have a moral obligation to disclose the information to the residents of the community that voted for you. You can't hide behind a curtain and plead for privacy insisting that there's nothing to see.  

For the record, I will reiterate my position. If an elected official, regardless of office, has financial problems and for whatever reason, cannot pay his or her taxes, then they shouldn't be in office. They should resign or if possibly, be placed on administrative leave until such time as their situation is resolved satisfactorily by authorities. If their situation cannot be resolved in a timely and satisfactorily way and the elected official refuses to step aside or be placed on leave, every attempt should be made by authorities and the taxpayers, to remove them from office.

Here is a snippet from the APP concerning Mayor Menna. I encourage everyone to read it and make up their own mind as to what should or shouldn't be done.
RED BANK - Mayor Pasquale "Pat" Menna said he plans to pay off a $40,000 federal tax lien by year's end, his financial woes eased by a $75,000 loan from a convicted car thief. 
The IRS placed the $40,146 lien on Menna's home in October 2013 after what the mayor described as a "confluence of circumstances," including a significant shift in his law practice and major health issues that cut into his income. 
"It's painful, but it's a reality," Menna said. "I've tried to deal with it quietly." 
Menna is the third official whose federal tax lien has become public in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the Asbury Park Press revealed Middletown Committeewoman Stephanie Murray has a $78,000 tax lien on her home. A week later, news broke that Ocean County GOP chairman George Gilmore was being investigated by the IRS, which placed $1 million in federal liens on his property....
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