GOP bashes Lincoln candidate for unpaid taxes

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – The state Republican Party says a Democratic candidate for the Legislature failed to pay taxes on a downtown Lincoln condo for more than a year. Upon learning of the unpaid tax bill, Patty Pansing Brooks paid the debt today.

Patty Pansing Brooks

The GOP released information Monday from the county treasurer’s office showing Pansing Brooks, a candidate in District 28 (south central Lincoln) failed to pay 2012 property taxes on a downtown condo. Lancaster County Treasurer records indicate Brooks and her husband owed about $2,281 in taxes plus $235 in interest on a condo at 100 N. 12th St.

“Patty Pansing Brooks needs to pay her property taxes just like any other hard-working Nebraskan,” Bud Synhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party, said in a press release. “Tens of thousands of Nebraskans in the city of Lincoln pay their property taxes when due and so should Patty Pansing Brooks.”

Pansing Brooks told Nebraska Watchdog the condo was purchased in July 2012, with a portion of it financed. Her sons have lived in the condo.

“As with most real-estate loans, it was our understanding that the loan amortization would include an escrow for the payment by the lender of the real estate taxes,” she said. “Unfortunately, due to an oversight which we did not discover until today, the escrow was never established and, therefore, the taxes were not paid, as we had expected.”

After learning of the unpaid taxes, she paid the deficient amount Monday as well as the next installment, due April 1.

“We are grateful to have learned of this issue and to have been able to correct it immediately,” she said. “We take our responsibility to pay our taxes seriously and believe they are a wise investment in our community, state and nation.”

Synhorst said while sometimes people are a few days late paying their taxes, “these are over a year past due.”

“I find it hard to believe that they didn’t know that they were that late in their property taxes until today,” he said. “Tens of thousands of people in Nebraska and Lincoln pay their taxes on time and so should Patty Pansing Brooks and Loel.”

A tax certificate for the unpaid taxes had been scheduled for public sale on Monday, but was cancelled once Pansing Brooks paid the taxes, according to Candace Meredith, a supervisor in the county treasurer’s office.

Meredith said the office stopped sending late notices in the past couple of years due to the escalating cost: More than 1,500 delinquent parcels (whose taxes have gone unpaid for more than a year) are scheduled for the Monday sale. Instead, delinquencies are noted on annual statements – which was sent to Pansing Brooks’ condo address in December of 2012 and 2013 – and advertised in the newspaper three weeks prior to the sale.

“We filed the statement in our file and we didn’t review it, thinking our bank was handling the payment,” Pansing Brooks said.

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org. Follow Deena on Twitter at @DeenaNEWatchdog

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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