Thursday, January 26, 2012

What is more disappointing?

Depending on your awareness of local Norfolk politics, you may or may not be aware that Councilman Paul Riddick owes the IRS a quarter of a million dollars in unpaid taxes, fines and interest.

As shocking as this story is the more shocking part is the reaction of the city manager, Mayor and other councilmen which has been absolutely NOTHING.

Not one word of condemnation, not one word of "hey Paul you really need to resign."   Since the story broke in the Pilot, there has been nothing from any government official.  Maybe I am wrong and if I am please let me know but if there has been I have not seen anything in the paper or local news. So I was a little disappointed there.  Enough that I sent the following email to the Mayor:

Mr. Mayor,
 It is obvious Councilman Riddick has no plans to spare the city further embarrassment by stepping down.  I am curious when will you publicly call for his resignation?

Adam Kinnear
Norfolk, VA

I got the following response from the Mayor's office:


Then I recalled that the city policy was that city employees that owed taxes would have their wages garnished.  A quick review shows that Mr. Riddick owes the city approximately $10K.  That struck me as odd that the city was not enforcing a tax collection policy on a council member.  So I sent the following email to the city manager Marcus Jones (no relation to my brother-in-law):

Mr. Jones,
  It was my understanding that your policy was that city employees who were delinquent in city taxes would have their wages garnished.  In today's Virginian-Pilot, "according to Charles Hartig, spokesman for Commissioner of Revenue Sharon McDonald, Riddick owes $6,718 in back city taxes: $4,423 in business personal property taxes, $387 in taxes for a car he bought for his business, and $1,908 in real estate taxes."
  Can you please explain why Councilman Riddick was exempt from this policy?

Adam Kinnear
Norfolk, VA

I received the following response:

Dear Mr. Kinnear:

The City Manager’s office is in receipt of your email. 

Courtney B. Thrift
Administrative Secretary-Constituent Relations
City of Norfolk-City Managers Office
1101 City Hall Building, 810 Union Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-664-4239 (fax)

Since it has been a week since my original email I decided to follow it up with the following:

Mr. Jones,

I appreciate the acknowledgement but I would really like an answer to my original question.  Since it has been a week without an answer, I have thought of another question.  How was Mr. Riddick issued a business when he was behind in his city taxes?  I have talked to several business owners who have told me that licenses are never issued until taxes are paid.

Adam Kinnear

I will let you know when this letter is acknowledged.   I am just curious why the local media is not digging into this story.  There seems to be a lot more than someone forgetting to pay their taxes. One things is for sure: it has been very disappointing to see the lack of adult leadership in this city.

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