Davis paid taxes late on home in Wisconsin

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 2, 2008 - 9:26 PM

First District GOP candidate Brian Davis has been tardy multiple times making tax payments on a second property.

Brian Davis, the Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota's First District, paid property taxes on his Wisconsin summer home late in five of the past six years, adding to a record of tardy tax payments on his Rochester home.

Between 2002 and 2007, Davis, a Mayo Clinic physician, was between 18 and 163 days late on property tax payments on the home he owns in Spider Lake, Wis., according to Sawyer County records. He has paid $728.52 in penalties and interest.

The Minnesota DFL Party discovered the infractions.

Davis is challenging incumbent Tim Walz, a Democrat from Mankato.

News about property tax payments for Davis' Rochester home surfaced this summer, showing that he had paid $1,400 in interest and penalties for 10 late payments since 2003.

Davis deferred comment on the Wisconsin taxes to his campaign manager, Mike Spellings.

"He's a busy guy ... " Spellings said. "At this time, he's in accordance with the law, and he's paid them in full."

DFL Associate Chair Donna Cassutt called Davis' behavior not mere forgetfulness but a pattern of irresponsibility that is indicative of the type of congressman he would make. "Many people are struggling to get by, but they're playing by the rules," she said. "Brian Davis is not playing by the rules. He's been delinquent an exorbitant amount of time. I think he just believes that he's above the rules."

Spellings could not shed light on why Davis was late with his Wisconsin payments but said that although there is "no excuse" for late payments, Davis has "lived up to his tax obligations and then some."

"I'm not going to speak to any amount of permissible lateness," Spellings said. "It's obviously not late enough for them [the government] to take any legal action. It was simply paying a fine. Paying interest."

Walz's campaign had no comment on the issue.

Davis, 50, won GOP endorsement in March and then decisively beat state Sen. Dick Day in the Republican primary in September.

Davis has said he missed property tax payments on his Rochester home after he and his wife switched from a system that automatically deducted payments to receiving bills in the mail.

The state Republican Party pointed out that Walz was fined a combined $8.84 for late property tax payments in 2005, 2003 and 2001. Patty O'Connor, director of taxpayer services in Blue Earth County, where Walz's home is located, said Walz pays through an escrow account and that his mortgage company made the late payments.

The payments were for a second parcel of land which houses Walz's garage, said his campaign manager Chris Schmitter.

Chao Xiong • 612-673-4391

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