Scott Maddox follies continue
The former Democratic State Chairman who I blogged about here and here in regards to his mismanagement of party finances has since tried to cast the blame on a former bookkeeper who worked for the party. This just isn't going to work, because now The Tallahassee Democrat reports Mr. Maddox was late in paying his property taxes. His excuse- The payment was sent to the wrong address. And I'm Alexander Hamilton.
Mr. Maddox withdraw from the Governor's race. You're a state-wide laughingstock and no one in their right mind will vote for you.
Maddox tardy with his taxesHe says bill sent to wrong address
By Bill Cotterell
DEMOCRAT POLITICAL EDITOR
The IRS tax levy that froze the Florida Democratic Party's bank account and triggered a forensic audit of the struggling party isn't the only tax trouble that has dogged Scott Maddox in his campaign for governor.
Maddox said Friday he paid $2,632.47 in overdue Leon County property taxes on an east-side home his company, Spectrum Resources, bought in 2002 from Debbie Griffin-Bruton, the Florida Democratic Party employee whose error led to the party's troubles with the IRS.
Maddox said he paid the taxes Monday, after the Tallahassee Democrat asked him about it and other financial foul-ups during his tenure as chairman of both the state and Leon County Democratic parties.
He also released a contrite letter from Griffin-Bruton, praising his management ability and acknowledging that she didn't tell him of financial problems at the state and county level. She said she will quit Thursday as comptroller of the state party and treasurer of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee.
"As you know, my husband John was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's," Griffin-Bruton wrote to Maddox. "His condition has been a constant drain on my time and resources, which eventually ended with my placing John in a long-term care facility."
She said she "made several honest mistakes" as comptroller of the state party and treasurer of the county unit, "including the non-payment of payroll taxes for the Florida Democratic Party and delinquency in filing reports and late fees for the Leon County DEC." She added that she had not told Maddox because of "my embarrassment over my mistakes."
New party chairman Karen Thurman last week arranged a $200,000 payment to the IRS for back taxes, Social Security payments, interest and penalties for the middle six months of 2003 - a period when Maddox was chairman. Current leaders of the Leon County DEC learned Monday night that, while Maddox was also county chairman, Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho's office had fined the county party $10,500 for late filing of a post-election financial report.
"Throughout the past week, I have accepted responsibility for the errors of my staff," Maddox said. "Now, knowing more of the story of Debbie's actions and misrepresentations, I must accept responsibility for having placed my faith in a person who clearly did not live up to my high expectations."
Courthouse records indicate Griffin-Bruton and her husband, John Bruton, sold their home to Spectrum Resources for $135,000 in the fall of 2002, when Maddox was mayor and she was financial director of the City Parks and Recreation Department. Knowing Bruton, a former city policeman, was suffering from Alzheimer's, Maddox said he allowed them to stay in the home for a token rent - which he said he waived completely last year when John Bruton went into long-term care.
Maddox said the Brutons were old friends of his family and that Debbie Griffin-Bruton could continue living in the home despite the current tax penalties and fines. She figured in an amusing January 2000 news story when Griffin-Bruton and Maddox encountered two young men on Adams Street who had urinated on the mayor's truck - prompting city scrutiny of the closing hours of bars that cater to college students.
He said the county sent tax bills to his previous address on Plantation Road, although he moved from that home last June and sold it in April to Chabad Lubavitch. He said he has asked Tax Collector Doris Maloy to send him a letter attesting that tax bills weren't sent to his new home in Stonywood Farms.
"We got no notice about it being in arrears," Maddox told the Democrat.
Although the tax amount is small and other Maddox real estate ventures are up-to-date on the tax rolls, it's the kind of thing that can come back to haunt a former mayor who bills himself as a no-nonsense administrator. The property-tax tardiness could be ammunition for the kind of attack advertising and negative phone banks that spring up in the late days of a campaign.