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Friday
Aug222014

NHDP Demands Accountability from Walt Havenstein for Property Tax Scandal

Sends Letter Calling on Failed CEO Havenstein to Take Responsibility for Misleading Maryland Taxpayers, Repay the Thousands He Owes
 
Manchester, NH – New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley sent the following letter to Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein following news first reported by WMUR that the State of Maryland is attempting to collect nearly $9,000 owed by Havenstein after he improperly claimed tax exemptions.
 
Chairman Buckley writes in the letter, "I call on you to stop trying to evade your taxes and to repay the full amount that you owe. Not because the growing scandal threatens your political career, but because the people of New Hampshire deserve better than a candidate for Governor who misleads the public and consistently avoids accountability."
 
The Union Leader reported that Robert Young, director of the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation, said, “The state of Maryland has determined, based on (Havenstein’s statements) that he was not a resident of Maryland and is a resident of (New Hampshire), he is not entitled to those tax credits.” 
 
WMUR also noted the implications these revelations may have in Havenstein’s dead-heat primary. "This Republican primary is a dog fight […] And stories like this, which undermine Havenstein's argument from day one that he is the most electable candidate, only give Hemingway more momentum."
 
Chairman Buckley’s full letter is included below or here:
 
1750 Elm Street, Suite 111
Manchester, NH 03108
 
Dear Walter P. Havenstein,
 
I am writing to call on you to take responsibility for your actions in light of the reports that the State of Maryland has determined that you improperly claimed nearly $9,000 in homestead tax credits from 2006 through 2011 and that you now have “30 days to pay the bill without facing interest or penalties.” [Union Leader, August 20, 2014] This news confirms what has long been clear to the people of New Hampshire: that you were either ineligible to run for Governor of New Hampshire or you misled the state of Maryland by improperly claiming tax breaks only available to principal residents of that state. 
 
By pursuing your campaign for Governor, you appeared to be arguing that you misled Maryland on your taxes. The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation clearly agrees, and it's now time for you to finally face up to the consequences of your actions.
 
While this scandal will undoubtedly be extremely concerning to Granite State voters, most worrying are your failures to accept responsibility, your repeated attempts to deflect blame, and your refusal to pay the nearly $9,000 you owe to the taxpayers of Maryland.
 
Your campaign spokesman is quoted saying that you apparently have not paid back the taxes you owe because “The Havensteins received bills from a tax office with no explanation for them.” Given the amount of attention your tax issues have already received, it is hard to fathom that you would require further explanation. The State of Maryland is very clear as to who is entitled to homestead tax credits, and by asserting that you were living in New Hampshire while taking those tax breaks, you very clearly were in violation of the law. 
 
Your refusal to take responsibility for your own decisions and to pay your full taxes is all the more troubling given your campaign’s filing yesterday showing that you loaned yourself nearly $1.5 million (or well over 70% of the total funds you reported) while claiming it as “raised money.” It’s clear that thousands of the dollars you gave to your campaign are really owed to the taxpayers of Maryland, and it is simply wrong for you to use those funds to try to prop up your struggling campaign.
 
Unfortunately, your tax scandal is part of a larger pattern of misleading others, thinking you’re above the rules, and attempting to avoid accountability. Whether it's failing to pay property taxes, cashing in on contracts to implement the Affordable Care Act while pledging to deny health coverage to working Granite Staters, or ducking responsibility for the thousands of job losses, plummeting stock value and multiple scandals during your tenure at SAIC, one thing is clear: you are unwilling to accept responsibility for your actions.
 
It's hard to imagine how you could continue to ask the voters of New Hampshire for their trust in the face of this growing scandal, especially given your apparent refusal – even now – to pay Maryland taxpayers the thousands of dollars that you owe. The State of Maryland has in no uncertain terms stated that its taxpayers would like their money back, and it’s long past time for you repay the thousands that you owe. 
 
I call on you to stop trying to evade your taxes and to repay the full amount that you owe. Not because the growing scandal threatens your political career, but because the people of New Hampshire deserve better than a candidate for Governor who misleads the public and consistently avoids accountability.
 
Sincerely,
 
Raymond Buckley
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman 

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