GOP House Candidate Pays Back Taxes Uncovered by Newspaper

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The leading Republican candidate in an action-packed Ohio congressional race has agreed to pay nearly $9,500 in back taxes and fees he says he was never billed for.

State Rep. Chuck Blasdel, who is a financial adviser, said he paid $3,566 to release outstanding liens against two of his former businesses. He also said he plans to pay another $5,927 in franchise taxes and fees for one of the businesses, Executive Cigar in East Liverpool, a tobacco retail store he owned with three partners from 1997 to 1999.

The attorney general’s office confirmed it released the 13 liens and received payment, but said Ohio law prohibits it from confirming the amount paid. Blasdel claims he should owe just $2,717 as one of four owners of Executive Cigar and one of two partners in another business, but has agreed to pay the full bill.

Blasdel said he was never notified of the delinquency until The (Youngstown) Vindicator newspaper asked him last month about an estimated $54,000 in liens and judgments that had piled up since the late 1990s.

Democrats subsequently attacked Blasdel for not paying while the rest of Ohio scrambles to meet the April 17 income tax filing deadline. The issue also has caused friction between Blasdel and Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican candidate for governor and former contributor to Blasdel’s state campaigns.

“It’s very clear he needs to pay this money quickly. He owes about $50,000 to the state,” Petro told the Vindicator editorial board earlier this week. Petro spokeswoman Kim Norris said he was basing that on an estimate from the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Blasdel lashed back at Petro for not acknowledging a smaller bill was in the works.

“It’s unfortunate Jim Petro doesn’t know what’s going on in his own office,” Blasdel spokeswoman Jessica Towhey said.

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