As Ocean County Republicans seek to move on from George Gilmore, unpaid federal income taxes has become an issue in an increasingly heated GOP mayoral primary in Point Pleasant Beach.
The Internal Revenue Service has filed a tax lien against Paul Kanitra, a councilman challenging mayor Stephen Reid, contending that he owes $151,541 in unpaid taxes for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Kanitra does not dispute the IRS claim and says he is working with the IRS to pay his tax debt after experiencing some cash flow issues in his business.
“I run a company with 4 employees dependent on me and over 1 million dollars a year in gross billing. My clients are mostly non-profit organizations and unfortunately, they often pay late or not at all. In fact, in the past ten years, we’ve had hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid accounts,” Kanitra told the New Jersey Globe. “I don’t dispute the amount owed in any shape or form.”
Kanitra owns a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm he started ten years ago after working for Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-Warren) and as a government relations executive.
His says his IRS issue is not entirely uncommon.
“Like scores of other Americans, I requested to be put in a tax payment plan,” said Kanitra. “I could have taken the cash out of my home’s equity, but it just made more sense to be in a tax payment plan. I anticipate the full amount will be paid off in a few months as my overdue accounts come in.”
Kanitra is alleging that Reid faces his own problems after purchasing the home of another councilman.
“It saddens me that the Reid campaign is so desperate to make a mountain out of a mole hill, especially when just last night, it was exposed that the Mayor once again lied on his financial disclosure forms and failed to reveal the home he purchased from Councilman (Thomas) Toohey, that Councilman (Thomas) Vogel’s company wrote the mortgage on,” Kanitra said.
According to Kanitra, it is “yet another ethics violation from this administration.”
“Considering what a difficult financial situation Councilman Toohey was in at the time of this transaction and how he continually does our Mayor’s bidding, it raises some serious questions about where the $100,000 in cash came from for the transaction and if Toohey is now beholden to the Mayor and Councilman Vogel,” Kanitra said.
At a raucous Tuesday night’s council meeting, former mayor Vincent Barrella challenged Reid to explain why he had not revealed his ownership of Toohey’s former home on his financial disclosure form.
“You are just a rude son of a bitch, aren’t you? You’re a horrible person,” Reid said to Barrella. “You’re a nasty son of a bitch.”