The head scratching continues as to why Democrats have seemed to have rallied behind Hot Springs attorney Q. Byrum Hurst in his race for Congress. First, it came out that he had 10 sanctions against him as an attorney. Next, news broke regarding a foreclosure filed against property he owns. And now, it appears he has tax issues both at the state and county level.
Going through the foreclosure documents filed in the Garland County Circuit Court, I found a response from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. They inform the court that the state holds a $10,050.25 tax lien on Mr. Hurst for state income taxes. They state in their filing that the date of the certificate is 8/15/2005.
It is difficult to obtain much information on this other than the amount of the lien as most tax information is obviously private. The letter filed in the Garland County foreclosure case is from DFA attorney Michael Wehrle. His office declined to comment directing me instead to Garland County public records.
The Administrative Office of the Courts “Court Connect” website has multiple filings with DFA listed as the plaintiff and Q. Byrum Hurst as defendant. Most do not have documents online. One does – a 2011 filing by DFA garnishing an account of Hurst held at Summit Bank. The garnishment again references a $10,050.25 tax lien dated 8/15/05. This filing references the tax lien filing TJ-27822 for tax period 2002.
My search of the numerous filings also took me back to the Garland County Collector website where I found a history of delinquent property tax payments some of which were recently paid while one connected to Hurst still appears to be delinquent.
Garland County tax documents show that Hurst paid $4,012.5 in delinquent property taxes that he owed for tax years 2009 (which were due in October 2010) and 2010 (which were due in October 2011.) The payments were made last Thursday, April 19, 2012 – over six weeks after he filed for Congress. The payments included $3,329.04 in back taxes and $683.46 in interest and penalties owed to Garland County.
In addition, it appears a business in which Hurst has an interest in owes back property taxes from 2010 (due October 2011.) This came to my attention from a separate foreclosure filing from last year made by Auto Parts and Bearing, Inc. against 620 Ouachita LLC, Travis Morrissey (law partner of Hurst), as well as Hurst himself. The foreclosure involved a $234,000 promissory note on property at 618 Ouachita Ave. in Hot Springs signed by the defendants. According to the filings, Garland County property taxes were not paid for the years 2008 and 2009 and the holder of the mortgage had to pay the taxes to prevent the property from reverting to the county. The foreclosure was an attempt to seek reimbursement by Morrissey and Hurst for $5,813.01 in tax payments the note holder had to make.
This foreclosure was resolved; however, Garland County tax records show that the 2010 taxes for this property are delinquent with $3,802.10 currently due. The Garland County Tax Collector office confirmed on Tuesday that this amount is still delinquent.
As with previous posts, I have reached out to the Hurst Campaign by phone and email and will update if they respond.
Hurst faces State Sen. Gene Jeffress and D.C. Morrison in the May 22 Democratic primary. Hurst reported raising over $100,000 in his most recent FEC filing far surpassing his opponents. It remains to be seen if his fundraising advantage will be enough to overcome these issues.