State Senate candidate Lou Raptakis is calling on his District 33 Democratic primary opponent, David Gorman, to pay back nearly $10,000 in back tangible property taxes and penalties to the town of Coventry dating back to 2008.
Raptakis said David Gorman, who is the union President of the Central Coventry Fire District and is currently serving as interim Fire Chief due to the departure of former Chief Robert Seltzer, owns a landscaping company—D. Gorman Landscaping—which has not paid any tangible property taxes to the town since 2009 and made only a partial payment on its 2008 tax bill.
“As a candidate for public office and an employee of a local fire district, Mr. Gorman has an obligation to pay his taxes in a timely way,” said Raptakis. “The last thing we need is a State Senator who wants everyone else’s taxes to go up while he isn’t even paying his own.”
Records obtained from the Coventry Tax Collector’s Office show that D. Gorman Landscaping owes $7,806.62 in principle and $1,834.03 in penalties for a total of $9,640.65. The company made a $227 payment on a $908.28 tangible property tax bill back in 2008 and has not made any tax payments to the town since.
Raptakis noted that D. Gorman Landscaping promotes itself as “your most reliable landscaping service in the Rhode Island area” with more than 15 years experience (www.dgormanlandscaping.com). Raptakis noted that as a long-time business owner in Coventry, he has always made it a point to keep up to date on his tax payments, especially given his role as a public official.
As a union official with the Central Coventry Fire District, Gorman has consistently pushed to collect delinquent back taxes and put delinquent properties up for tax sale. Raptakis said the district has not made available how many properties are currently up for tax sale, but based on discussions in recent board meetings and comparable numbers from the Anthony Fire District, there may be anywhere from 30-60 residential and commercial properties being pursued aggressively by the District and President Gorman for back taxes.
A review of minutes on file with the Secretary of State’s office shows that at the September 20 and May 17, 2011 meetings of the fire district, Gorman pushed hard to improve collections on delinquent taxes. (The most recent minutes of the meetings of the Central Coventry Fire District have yet to be filed with the Secretary of State, with the January 17, 2012 meeting being the last available.)
Raptakis said Gorman’s failure to pay his town tangible property taxes raises the question of whether he is paying tangible property taxes to the Fire District. The Central Coventry Fire District tax roll is not made available to the public and Raptakis said even if Gorman is paying those taxes, it only raises the question of why he feels he can take a pass on paying his bills with the Town of Coventry.
“If you refuse to pay your own taxes, you shouldn’t be asking the people of Coventry to trust you to represent your interests in the General Assembly and you certainly be standing up at Fire District meetings screaming to go after people who are struggling to pay their taxes in this economy,” said Raptakis. “It’s time for Mr. Gorman to get his own business in order before he presumes to go after other delinquent taxpayers or claim that he speak for us on tax issues at the State House.”
Submitted by the Committee to Re-Elect Lou Raptakis