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Mayoral Candidate LePage Declared Bankruptcy, Had Tax Liens

10-25-21

Haverhill City Councilor and mayoral candidate Colin LePage says that he is under attack by Mayor Fiorentini and his supporters over parts of his background that he says “isn’t as nefarious as it looks.”

A Valley Patriot investigation shows that LePage filed for bankruptcy in 2005, paid a $300 fine in 2008 for driving on a suspended license in N.H., and had a property tax lien from the IRS in 2007 for unpaid income taxes.

“I find it interesting that the mayor’s supporters are pushing this stuff out there so close to the election because they don’t want people talking about the mayor’s lack of transparency and how he spends the taxpayer’s dollars. He’s just not trustworthy or honest about the things he has been doing, so he wants people to talk about my past,” he told The Valley Patriot.

In an exclusive interview LePage told The Valley Patriot that he would be happy to address the three issues uncovered during our investigation.

DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE

According to records obtained over the weekend, LePage was cited for driving on a suspended license in Alton, New Hampshire in 2008. LePage plead guilty and paid a $300 fine.

“Back in 2008 I got a ticket for speeding and they revoked my license for non payment,” he admitted.

“But I didn’t even know they had done that. I got no notice. So, one day we were on our way to my sister’s birthday party and I got pulled over. That was the first time I learned about the suspension. I paid the ticket and the fine. I honestly had no idea, my license in Massachusetts wasn’t suspended and I drove for work at the time. It’s too bad I had to find out that way, but I did the right thing and I paid up.”

TAX LIENS FOR NON PAYMENT OF INCOME TAX

Documents show that the IRS placed a property tax lien on LePage in the amount of $5,293.68 for non payment of income taxes in 2008.

LePage said that he did have a dispute with the IRS back around 2007, because, he says, his employer at the time was sending him a 1099 for his reimbursement expenses, which  are not taxable.

“My employer was not paying his half of the taxes at the time, and at the same time he was sending me, a salaried employee, a 1099 for my reimbursement expenses. So, all three years this happened I ended up getting a tax refund, but then the IRS came to me and said I had to pay it all back because of this 1099 my employer issued.”

“I didn’t have the money to fight the IRS, it would have cost me a lot more than the money they said I owed so I just paid it.”

LePage says he went back and forth with the IRS several times over the issue and added that as a salaried employee he never should have gotten the 1099 in the first place.

“Their real beef was with my former employer, not me, but when it was all over I ended up paying the bill for it.”

“I went through this for three or four years in a row where I would get a refund and a few months later I would get a bill for amount of the refund. Then they would settle it up, and the next year they would do the same thing.”

“In the end the IRS agreed with me but at the onset it looked like I wasn’t reporting the right amount.”

“By the way, The City of Haverhill was doing the exact same thing as my former employer when I first got on the council,” he added.

“I had never asked for a reimbursement for expenses on the city council, but the city had set up a system where they created a stipend for councilors. I objected, saying they are taking taxes out of my check and then I get a separate check? I knew this wasn’t right at the time and told my fellow councilors, and the city auditor that. I was proven correct years later.”

“By the way, I am the one who rectified that, it was only because of what I had been through with my former employer that I understood what the mayor was doing. So, I think if anything, going through this experience with the IRS actually makes me more qualified and more informed to be mayor because, now I understand these problems first hand. I know that the mayor and his supporters are going to make hay out of this, but it’s really not as nefarious as it looks.”

DECLARING BANKRUPTCY

LePage admits he did declare Ch. 7 bankruptcy in 2005, adding that he had taken in his ailing mother who had a mountain of credit card debt.

“She had no pension and was on social security. I had no idea she had all this debt when she moved in but when I found out, I took her to my attorneys to see what we could do about it,” he said.

“While I was there with the attorneys, they advised me to do the same with my debt and unfortunately I took the advice of my attorneys,” he said.

LePage said that like many Haverhill voters he has had financial problems in his past, but adds that he believes those experiences with financial hardship have been good training to serve on the city council and run the city’s finances.

Michael Gagliardi, business manager for Laborer’s Union Local 175 (who endorsed Mayor Fiorentini) says he disagrees.

“I find it amazing that a candidate that is discussing transparency has tried to hide his bankruptcy filings from the taxpayers. I mean, if not for The Valley Patriot digging this up I don’t think he ever would have told anyone. If he can’t manage his own personal finances, how can we trust him with the city’s budget?”

Gagliardi also added; “Not only can he not manage his own finances, he can’t even pay his taxes on time. He’s irresponsible with his taxes, he’ irresponsible with his personal finances, yet he wants to run the finances of the city? God help us if that’s the kind of fiscal irresponsibility he wants to bring to the city.”

LOOKING FORWARD

“Nobody’s past is perfect,” LePage told The Valley Patriot.

“What’s important is what you do moving forward. Since my financial difficulties 15 years ago I now have more than a quarter million dollar line of credit,  I have less than 5% credit card debt, and my credit score hovers around 800. I think most voters can relate to this as many of them have also suffered financial hardship in the past.”

“But to be fair,” he added, “the public should also be looking at the mayor’s record in managing their tax money.”

LePage pointed out the Fiorentini over spent on the Hunking School Project causing the taxpayers to foot the bill for a $300,000 building permit fee for the Hunking School. This was not reimbursable by the state.”

He also said that Fiorentini allowed a local developer to owe more than $250,000 to the city “because the mayor was apparently unaware of it. I am the one who found out about it and brought it to the council’s and the public’s attention. At least my financial problems only affected me personally, but the mayor’s financial problems not only lack transparency but hurt the taxpayers.”

“We’re paying the $300K building permit fee that the mayor charged to the taxpayers, who asked for a debt exclusion for the schools but are now paying $300,000 higher than what they agreed to with no benefit.”

LePage concluded saying that he believes voters won’t be fooled by the personal attacks against him.

“I really believe that the voters are more concerned with what I’m going to do with their money than they are with my personal past. This is an election to decide who is better to run the city and how we will manage their money, and I think I have proven on the council that I am the best candidate to do that.”

 

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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One Response to Mayoral Candidate LePage Declared Bankruptcy, Had Tax Liens

  1. Jeri Levasseur Reply

    October 25, 2021 at 8:11 PM

    These are things that can happen to anyone given the right circumstances. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap by the people who brought this into the sunlight again. Colin has the vote of this family. He has done a great job as a city councilor and will continue to do well by the people of Haverhill. Let’s get behind him and make Haverhill a wonderful place again.

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