Did ex-BAE chief, pondering gubernatorial run, live in Maryland or in New Hampshire?
By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
CONCORD – Walter Havenstein, a potential candidate for governor, either is ineligible to run for the office or committed tax fraud in Maryland, where he claimed residence to receive two tax breaks in that state, a Democratic Party spokesman said.
Havenstein, an Alton Republican, obtained the tax preferences from 2008-11 on a condominium in Bethesda, Md.
The state constitution requires candidates for governor, state senate and Executive Council to live in the state for seven years before they run for the office.
Havenstein said that in addition to registering a car in Maryland, he briefly had a driver’s license in that state.
New Hampshire doesn’t allow someone to hold a valid driver’s license in this state while having an active license in another state.
“Either he was a resident of Maryland when he obtained a tax break, which makes him ineligible to run for governor of New Hampshire, or he was a resident of New Hampshire, which means he fraudulently obtained a tax break in Maryland and a Maryland driver’s license.” Democratic Party communications director Julie McCain said.
McClain said Havenstein had to acknowledge his $1 million condominium in Bethesda was his principal residence in order to get $5,384 off his property tax bills from 2008-11.
Since 2007, Maryland law has required those getting a homestead exemption on their property taxes to sign a form acknowledging that the principal residence means it was his home “for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license and filing income tax returns.’’
Havenstein said he couldn’t recall ever signing that form, but did provide a less explicit form he filed to receive a $50,000 tax exemption off the state’s property transfer tax he had to pay when he bought the home.
Havenstein, a former chief executive at BAE Systems, has said he followed laws in both states and that his domicile has always been in New Hampshire, where he voted even during the years he lived and worked in Maryland.
Havenstein didn’t register to vote in Maryland.
“At no time did I intend or in fact give up my domicile here in New Hampshire,’’ Havenstein said. “I think my eligibility is based on my domicile here, and it’s clear for the last 14 years it has been unbroken.’’
Havenstein and his adviser, Jamie Barrett, said lawyers have assured that his voting practices and the fact he regularly came home to New Hampshire on weekends made him an eligible candidate should he decide to run for governor.
Kevin Landrigan can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).