LISBON Although campaign advertisements run on behalf of state Rep. Craig Newbold accuse his challenger, Nick Barborak, of failing to pay taxes, Newbold admitted Wednesday he was guilty of doing the same thing and for a lot more money.
The issue came up during the Candidate Forum hosted by the Morning Journal, a sister paper of the Salem News and Ogden newspaper group, and WKBN FirstNews/Fox 17/62 Wednesday night.
Barborak, a Democrat who currently serves as county treasurer, said Newbold was a month late paying his $9,753 second-half property taxes this year. He said he had no intention of bringing up the issue but changed his mind after the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee began running ads on Newbold's behalf saying Barborak had twice failed to pay his taxes.
Barborak said he missed a $200 unemployment payment and a $400 state payroll withdrawal, both related to his law practice. Barborak was unaware he had missed the unemployment payment but actually paid the payroll tax a little late, but a lien was still placed against his property.
When given the opportunity to respond, Newbold, a Republican, said he simply forgot to pay his taxes - a declaration that elicited gasps and laughter from the approximately 150 people in the audience.
After the meeting, Newbold said all of his bills are scheduled for payment on his computer, which broke down during this period. He realized he failed to pay property taxes after coming across the bill in his desk drawer where it had been placed.
Barborak had with him the documents showing Newbold paid the taxes on Oct. 9, a month and two days after they were due. Newbold said that in addition to the taxes he also paid the 10 percent penalty fee for missing the deadline.
"I have always paid my bills," he said, adding that anyone can get online and look up his credit rating, which is high.
Newbold said he doesn't recall ever paying late before, but Barborak showed another check stub reflecting he failed to pay roughly $566 in property taxes on time last year as well. The payment was due on March 4, 2011, and received three days later.
Barborak said it was hypocritical for Newbold to run ads of this sort considering his own tax issues.
Although not allowed to speak during the event, someone in the audience believed to be related to Barborak shouted out to Newbold asking him if he would remove the TV ads about his opponent since he had not paid his own taxes as well.
The question received no response.
Barborak also raised questions during the debate about Newbold's handling of $499,000 in federal stimulus money awarded to Newbold's non-profit foundation. This will be addressed in a future story.