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Ansonia Mayoral Candidate Starts Paying Late Taxes

by Ethan Fry | Sep 18, 2013 8:50 pm

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Posted to: Ansonia, Ansonia 2013 Election

Photo: Ethan FryDavid Cassetti, the Republican candidate for mayor of Ansonia, has made the recent increase in the city’s tax rate the hallmark issue of his campaign.

While doing so, three companies he owns owed the city more than $15,000 in real estate and motor vehicle taxes that were overdue as of Aug. 1.

Asked by the Valley Indy Wednesday about the back taxes, Cassetti said he had been shorthanded in his office and intended to pay them in full soon.

How soon?

Within a few hours, Cassetti called the Valley Indy and said he had made a payment toward the back taxes and would pay the rest of the money owed Thursday (Sept. 19).

Taxes Owed

Most of the taxes owed were for the current year’s tax bills, half of which is due July 1 and half of which is due Jan. 1.

The taxes are considered delinquent after 30 days — or Aug. 1, for the payments due July 1.

Birm-I Construction Company, LCC, which Cassetti founded and owns, owed the city $3,808.38 in delinquent property taxes, according to the city’s online tax database.

Of that total, $1,666.74 was due Jan. 1, 2013 and has been delinquent since Feb. 1, 2013.

The rest has been delinquent since Aug. 1, 2013.

The company also owed the city $6.056.41 in motor vehicle taxes on 22 vehicles considered delinquent since Aug. 1, 2013.

Another company Cassetti said he owns, Valley Contractor and Supply Company, LLC, was about six weeks late on a $1,615.63 tax bill.

A third company owned by Cassetti, SALJD Riverside Properties, LLC, owed $4,612.58.

All told, Cassetti’s three companies had $16,093 owed in delinquent taxes as of Wednesday, according to the city’s online tax database.

Alderman Edward Adamowski, a Democrat from the First Ward, brought the back taxes to the Valley Indy’s attention Tuesday after he said he was told about the delinquencies by a concerned constituent.

Cassetti Reacts

Reached by the Valley Indy early Wednesday afternoon, Cassetti said he is paying his taxes.

“We’re in the process of paying that,” he said. “We have the money for it. I’ve just been inundated with work and a little shorthanded in the office, but they’re all going to be paid.”

About three hours later Cassetti showed the Valley Indy a receipt for a $1,615.63 payment made toward the Valley Contractor and Supply taxes, and said he’d pay up the rest Thursday — $14,477.37.

Asked if he thought the delinquent taxes would reflect poorly on his campaign, Cassetti said no.

“I’m sure there’s some (Democrats) that are delinquent in their taxes, but I’m not stooping that low,” Cassetti said. “I want to talk about the issues, that’s what I want to talk about. Everything will be paid. We’re in the process of doing it.”

Cassetti said the city owes him about $9,000 for work his company did last year installing conduit for new lights on Main Street that were recently installed by United Illuminating.

‘Gutter Politics’

The tax issue angered Cassetti’s supporters Wednesday.

John Marini, a Republican Alderman and the chairman of the Republican Town Committee, said the issue was “gutter politics.”

“I think it shows a desperate party that will do anything to stay in power,” Marini said. “He’s several weeks late. My guess is a lot of residents throughout the city are several weeks late.”

“Of course you should be up to date on your taxes, of course you should be paying,” Marini went on. “(But) this isn’t an example of someone who hasn’t paid their taxes for years and years and years. What this is about is a business owner that’s struggling like everybody else.”

“Tomorrow you should see all the receipts, and I’m going to make sure that happens,” Marini said. “He’s going to have all the information to show that everything’s been paid.”

“It’s kind of shocking to see that the actual candidates themselves would sink to that depth and point fingers like that,” Marini said. “It’s just not appropriate, it’s disgusting.”

‘They Brought This Up’

Adamowski countered that it was a Republican, Alderman Phil Tripp, who last February first brought up the idea of the city barring anyone from serving on the city’s boards or commissions who owed back taxes.

Click here to read the minutes of the Aldermen’s meeting where the topic came up during a discussion of several appointments the Aldermen were considering. Tripp’s comments come up on page 34, under the “Appointments” heading.

Adamowski himself revived the idea about six months later, during an Aldermen’s discussion of the fallout from revelations uncovered by the Valley Indy that the city’s former tax collector had improperly given tax clearance documents to people who hadn’t paid motor vehicle taxes. Click the play button on the video to see his remarks.

“I don’t see where the gutter politics come in,” Adamowski said. “This is factual stuff. This is not something that anybody’s making up. They brought this up. I guess it’s just because it’s us that it’s bad politics.”

“I’m quite certain that if it was me that owed thousands of dollars in back taxes it would be all over the newspapers,” Adamowski went on.

The tax collection rate has been an issue in Ansonia for some time. Tripp and Alderman Jerome Fainer talked about the issue at length during that public meeting in February 2012. They specifically inquired about public officials — either elected or appointed — who may owe taxes. The thought was — how can someone play a role in government if they themselves aren’t paying into the system?

Then, last summer, a story revealed the city’s former tax collector was issuing receipts saying some city officials or employees had paid their taxes — when they had not.

“If you’re running for public office, you should have your taxes paid on time, or if you’re appointed to a board or anything like that,” Adamowski said this week. “My side should be paid up too. If there’s somebody on our side of the slate that owes back taxes, they should pay them.”

Eileen Krugel, the chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee, said “it’s too bad” that Cassetti’s companies owed back taxes.

“Obviously people that do pay their taxes, and struggle to pay their taxes, it doesn’t sit well when people who claim to be successful businessmen don’t pay their taxes,” Krugel said.

“I try to make sure our team is up to date, but sometimes people have financial difficulties,” Krugel added. “None of us like (paying taxes).”

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Comments

posted by: Alan Hudson on September 18, 2013  9:27pm

???  I am confused. I have been late on my taxes for the last 6 years in this town due to the inability of the volunteer committees to control them properly. How come I never made the paper at age 79? Thank God I am an independent voter and thinker because things have to change around here. Agree I think Demo Alderman involved here actually should be beautifying my ward rather than playing like he was in a school yard.

posted by: Robert Witmore on September 18, 2013  9:49pm

Political motivation like this is child’s play. It reminds many within a family circle upbringing with relations to a public postions not to DRIVE a campaign WHILE INTOXICATED.

posted by: Eileen Krugel on September 19, 2013  8:01am

“Cassetti said the city owes him about $9,000 for work his company did last year installing conduit for new lights on Main Street that were recently installed by United Illuminating.”
With all due respect, Mr. Cassetti, the city is still waiting for your invoice. Last month, I reviewed the project costs and retainage with your new bookkeeper in my office. For the past few months, I have requested this invoice from you in person, through phone calls and emails – this posting is not the venue I would prefer to use – but I’ve tried all other means to reach you. This money (about $6,000 which is billable upon completion of the project) reflects the five percent retainage that you agreed to, upon signing the July 13, 2012 contract. I would like to finalize this grant, which paid for this lighting project, but I need your invoice to move forward.

posted by: Giacomo Ito Mascolo on September 19, 2013  8:53am

Ms. Krugel, just wow.. I can’t believe you have the audacity to air city business with a city company in a comment in this forum being the Chairwoman of the DTC. Have you ever heard of the term ‘Business Ethics’? I would have to assume not. You should be ashamed of yourself.

posted by: William Luneski on September 19, 2013  10:28am

Since Mr. Cassetti has made the choice to air his laundry in the media, Here is my 2 cents. Times are tough, yes. But I am never late in my obligations to my creditors.  That is a measurement of good management.  How can you expect to lead a city much greater in size and complexity when you can’t keep your own “house” in order? 

William Luneski
Business Owner
Resident
Unaffiliated Voter

posted by: Jerome Fainer on September 19, 2013  10:31am

Wow,Mr.M. Don’t you realize that city contracts and business is all public information. Let see I think key word is transparency. As Mr cassetti had addressed the issue first ,I would think a truthful response was not inappropriate. Also what does one company being owed money have to do with the others owing the city taxes. You don’t have to lecture me on a bad economy.I as a construction worker have been unemployed for 19 out the last 34 months but have been up to date with our taxes. Also I guess the First amendment only applys to certain people.

posted by: Mary Weber on September 19, 2013  11:15am

The only way to change the MEAN-SPIRITED and anti-business culture in city hall is to vote them out this fall!

posted by: Ansonia Gop on September 19, 2013  11:26am

This is yet another example of the anti-business attitude of the Della Volpe administration.  The Mayor began his campaign by publicly bullying an already defunct business (Healy Ford) and continues it by attacking a candidate’s business for a 48 day late tax payment (a 25 year old business that has paid hundreds of thousands in city taxes over the years!).

What Ansonia business will the Della Volpe campaign target next?

Then again, this administration is likely hoping that a 48 day late tax payment will distract from short comings of its own, including:

- Failure to properly manage the economic development department, allowing the EDC commission to go inactive for years;

- Failure to properly manage the tax office, resulting in a embarrassing tax collection rate and scandal involving city employees;

- Failure to properly manage the housing authority, resulting in a delay of the Riverside demolition and a scandal involving the AHA director;

- Failure to properly manage the WPCA, which saw most members resign in the past few months;

- Failure to properly manage city employees, who have recently been involved in ethical quagmires and outright theft, yet manage to keep their paid and volunteer positions.

The Della Volpe administration can only run interference for so long before it is forced to face the real issues.

John Marini

posted by: Fran Lee on September 19, 2013  3:24pm

I’m not getting this, John.
Everyone here is saying that the taxes were “only late 48 days,” yet I go on the web, enter 10 Riverside Drive and see a bill still not paid from last year. What am I not getting here?
And who is bullying who here? Aren’t you bullying the DellaVolpe admin - aren’t you part of the problem as an alderman aren’t you part of this administration? Haven’t you sat on the EDC for a number of years? Besides bikes and veggies…what have you done?
Do you think by turning the blame to a decent guy like Dell, that it diverts attention from someone seeking the highest city seat who owes taxes? Someone who should set the standards for our town? You, yourself said, “it is not illegal, but invalid” to nominate someone who owes taxes.

posted by: Ansonia Gop on September 19, 2013  4:32pm

There is nothing to be confused about Fran.  BIRM 1 had some unpaid taxes.  They were paid yesterday and today.  The vast majority of the balance was due 48 days ago.  The amount owed is nominal compared to the thousands the business pays on time each year. This is an issue because Ansonia Democrats have no other issue to offer voters.

I completely understand why the Della Volpe administration would decide to run such a negative campaign.  Their track record is abysmal: on taxes, spending, business growth and education they have failed Ansonia for 14 years.  Finding a distraction is obviously vital to their prospects this fall.

Ansonia Republicans have tried to reverse the downward trend.  They revived the economic development commission (which to date has secured nearly one million in rehab grants) established a business tax incentive program, offered loans to business owners, and fought consistently for responsible spending.

This from a total of 4 elected Republican aldermen on a 14 member board.

It is not bullying to hold a 14 year Mayor accountable for his record. Does Della Volpe have an argument for extending his time in office?  Or does he just have a finger to point?

posted by: Tony Levinsky on September 24, 2013  5:34pm

In a time when standard procedure for most politicians is to point the finger of blame toward someone else, Mr. Cassetti did not. He could have easily saved face by throwing one of his office staff under the bus for not remitting the tax payment on time, as was probably the case. Instead, he accepted full responsibility for the embarrassing tax delinquency. That demonstrates to me that he is a man of integrity and honor. I have never met Mr. Cassetti nor am I involved in politics in any way. But everyone who I have spoken to has indicated that he is a hardworking, honest man. That’s good enough for me. He has my vote.

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