News release from Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster
Mary-Jane Foster, candidate for mayor in the Democratic Primary, today called for an independent operational and financial audit of the city’s Tax Collector Department. “We are seeing very serious management deficiencies in this department, which is putting our precious tax dollars at risk,” the candidate said.
“We have recently learned, only because of a police investigation, that the tax collector has a program whereby independent contractors are allowed to seize citizen’s vehicles, impound them, sell them at auction and keep the proceeds; doing so without turning any funds over to the tax collector and without detailed accounting for all these transactions. In a city where tax dollars are stretched so thin due to a stagnant tax base, we can ill afford this level of mismanagement,” Foster charged.
Foster noted that this is not just a problem for the city but an injustice to city residents who have had their properties taken as a form of punishment and not a tax collection effort. “The city of Bridgeport, led by the Finch administration, is just as responsible as this contractor is for stealing personal property for financial gain. A man ‘of the law,’ who bragged about making $1M a year, charged with 18 counts of forgery and 21 counts of criminal impersonation is just uncalled for.”
Foster called on the city to immediately begin legal action to recover any lost tax revenues due to the actions of a rogue state marshal. Foster called for both personal civil action and pursuing any insurance remedy that might be available.
“This individual was required to carry substantial insurance. If it turns out that the city does not require a surety bond for this type of contractor or failed to make sure he carried the legally required insurance, then the management problem is even worse than we have been led to believe,” Foster continued.
Foster characterized a council investigation as being comical. “This program has been going on for a decade and only now, in an election year, are they calling for an investigation. And who will decide how that investigation takes place? I am guessing the City Council President, Tom McCarthy–who is owned hook, line and sinker by the Finch Administration. This is the same council that promised a full and detailed explanation of Manny Moutinho’s driveway fiasco that has never been delivered. A driveway that cost taxpayers over $600,000 in expenses. A joke is what we will get.”
Foster noted that earlier this year a sitting council member was exposed, as he had racked up half a million dollars in delinquent tax bills for both personal property and real estate taxes, and yet nothing was done. The same office of the Tax Collector has done nothing to collect delinquent personal property taxes and the council has sat on its hands.
“Was nothing done then because he was a City Council member? A fellow Democrat? But since this involves a former Republican office holder it is considered fair game? We do not need a Tax Collector who plays politics with the taxpayers’ money,” the candidate stated.
Foster said the latest revelation is that an unofficial spokesman for the Finch administration has been allowed to run up tax bills of over $10,000 and the administration apparently has no intention of pulling him from the city-paid ads.
“I have one opponent who was convicted for pay-to-play schemes and another who appears to be running the tax collector’s office with an attitude of ‘it’s who you know, not what you owe,'” Foster charged.