An Oakdale man has been named in a federal lawsuit, accused of not paying taxes for 10 years. With penalties and interest, the government says he owes nearly $463,000.

Washington County has been named as a co-defendant in the suit against Joseph Steinmaus, but only as a matter of legal routine as the federal government aims to foreclose on properties Steinmaus owns, and for which property taxes are still owed, said Rick Hodsdon, assistant county attorney.

"The county is involved, but only as a collateral, bit player, relatively speaking," Hodsdon said. Such cases where the county is named a defendant crop up about once or twice a year, he said.

Being listed as a defendant will ensure that any property taxes that are owed and recovered don't get lost in the legal wrangling between the federal government and those from whom it seeks to recover money, he said.

According to the suit, Steinmaus did not pay income taxes between 1994 and 2005, except for 1999 and 2000. The amounts that the government says Steinmaus owes vary from about $4,200 in 2004 to more than $141,000 for 1997.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, also states the government plans to foreclose on Steinmaus' home in the 7200 block of 40th Street N. in Oakdale. Once the property is foreclosed on and sold, the proceeds would be distributed to the parties in the suit, part of which would go toward payment of delinquent property taxes.

In his answer to the suit, Steinmaus said he admits to some of the government's claims, but denies others. He said he does not remember what years he received an assessment notice for the unpaid income taxes.

JIM ANDERSON