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Saturday
Apr052014

NHDP - Walt Havenstein Faces Serious Questions in Attempt to Run for Governor of NH

Concord, NH-- Today, New Hampshire Democratic Party leaders outlined the serious questions facing gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and exposed the holes in his campaign team's misleading defense of his candidacy. While Havenstein has just entered this race, his introduction to the voters of New Hampshire has revealed troubling questions about his legitimacy as a candidate and his respect for the voters of New Hampshire.

A few weeks ago, the Telegraph uncovered that Havenstein "saved $5,354 from 2008-11 by getting a homestead exemption from local property taxes in Bethesda, Md. He also paid a lower state property transfer tax while buying the property in that state. To get both, Havenstein had to acknowledge that his $1 million condominium was his 'principal residence." The New Hampshire's Constitution requires candidates for Governor to "have been an inhabitant of this state for 7 years next preceding."

"Since 2007, Maryland law has required homeowners to sign a form under penalty of perjury attesting that the homestead property is owner’s principal. That form specifically asked if the property was your principal residence, was it where you filed your income taxes, where you had your drivers license, and where you voted from," said former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan. "By taking that homestead exemption, Havenstein gave up any claim to New Hampshire residency during those years, raising serious doubts about his eligibility to run for governor of New Hampshire."

 
"There are serious questions surrounding Maryland multimillionaire Walt Havenstein’s candidacy. Either he is ineligible to run in New Hampshire, or he likely committed tax fraud in Maryland," said New Hampshire State Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. "While we don’t know much about Walt Havenstein or what he stands for, this much is clear: he is the hand picked D.C. candidate for Governor who has already demonstrated that he doesn’t understand the priorities of Granite Staters. Walt Havenstein clearly thinks the rules that apply to the rest of us don't apply to him, and he can't be trusted to fight for the priorities that matter to hard-working Granite State families," continued Buckley.  

Havenstein has a litany of questions that are plaguing his early candidacy, and thus far, the only defense his team has been able to muster is that he was a “statutory resident” of Maryland for tax purposes, but maintained his domicile in New Hampshire. [Source: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20140402/NEWS06/140409857] Under Maryland law, anyone who is inthe state for more than 183 days a year is considered a statutory resident for income tax purposes. [Source: http://www.concordmonitor.com/news/politics/11414964-95/republican-havenstein-enters-nh-governors-race-despite-eligibility-questions]

"What Havenstein isn’t telling you, is that in Maryland, statutory residency is an income tax category for the purposes of paying Maryland income taxes, not the homestead exemption.
Homestead is a property tax category, governed by the Maryland laws on homestead and property taxes," Sullivan said. "Being a statutory resident for income tax purposes doesn’t make you eligible for the homestead property tax credit that Havenstein took. Only those domiciled in Maryland can take that break. Homestead equals domicile and domicile equals homestead."

 

"Given these facts, Havenstein is left with a very uncomfortable situation - either he was domiciled in Maryland as recently as 2011 and therefore ineligible to run for Governor of New Hampshire or he misled Maryland tax officials to get a tax break he wasn't entitled to," Sullivan concluded.
Background:

Nashua Telegraph expose outlined how Walt Havenstein took Maryland property tax breaks that required his principal residence to be in that state, raising a host of questions and placing his candidacy in doubt.

The Telegraph uncovered that Havenstein “saved $5,354 from 2008-11 by getting a homestead exemption from local property taxes in Bethesda, Md. He also paid a lower state property transfer tax while buying the property in that state. To get both, Havenstein had to acknowledge that his $1 million condominium was his ‘principal residence' where he was living at least seven months of the year." [Nashua Telegraph3/23/14]
 
Under Maryland law, ”Principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.” [MAPM, accessed 4/2/14]
Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury. According to the Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.” [State of Maryland, accessed 4/2/2014, Nashua Telegraph3/23/14]

Just last weekend, a Nashua Telegraph emphasized Havenstein's problems stating that he was either "ineligible to run for the office or committed tax fraud in Maryland." [Nashua Telegraph, 3/31/14]

That same report found that in addition to registering a car in Maryland, Havenstein briefly held 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. [Nashua Telegraph3/31/14, State of New Hampshire, accessed 4/2/14]

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