One of the top Democrats in the state House or Representatives owed more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes, according to court filings and tax records reviewed by the Carolina Journal for this report.
State Rep. Michael H. Wray, a Gaston Democrat serving as the deputy minority leader, owed more than $100,000 for federal, state and local taxes that went unpaid on businesses and properties he owned, according to the investigative report by the Carolina Journal’s Don Carrington. (The Carolina Journal is part of the John Locke Foundation, a conservative Raleigh-based thinktank.)
Wray, who describes himself as a small business owner on his legislative website, has been in the state House since 2005, and recently defeated a Democratic challenger in the Mary primary. He has no Republican opponent in the general election this November for his district in northeastern North Carolina that covers parts of Halifax and Northampton counties.
Federal IRS officials also filed two tax liens in February on Wray’s property in Northampton County, seeking $83,979 in unpaid taxes.
Wray did not respond to requests from the Carolina Journal for comment, though an attorney for Wray told Carrington the taxes had been paid off.
From the article:
On Feb. 18, the IRS filed two Notice of Federal Tax Lien documents with the Northampton County Clerk of Superior Court, naming Michael Wray as the delinquent taxpayer. The documents indicate that for 15 consecutive quarterly periods from the beginning of 2009 through September 2012, Wray short-changed the IRS. The documents do not specify which of Wray’s businesses is associated with the past due taxes. Wray, according to the IRS, currently is responsible for a total of $83,979 in unpaid federal taxes, interest, and penalties.
Wray’s father Harold is responsible for $98,505 over the same period.
“We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid,” states each document signed by federal Revenue Officer Robert Johnson. “Therefore, there is a lien in favor of the United States on all property and rights to property belonging to this taxpayer for the amount of these taxes, and additional penalties, interest, and costs that may accrue.” The liens give the IRS a first claim on the proceeds of the sale of any of the real estate parcels the Wrays own, but they do not prevent the Wrays from selling any of their property, businesses, or other possessions to settle their debt with the IRS.
The Wrays also had problems keeping up with their state tax obligations. In 2013, the Division of Employment Security in the N.C. Department of Commerce filed five separate “Certification of Unemployment Insurance Tax Delinquency” notices with the Northampton County Clerk of Superior Court, naming Wray’s Sheet Metal as the delinquent payer. Those notices total $5,677 in taxes, interest, late payments, and court costs.
Click here to read the entire article.