Published September 21. 2012 3:00PM Updated September 22. 2012 9:56AM
After weeks of criticizing her opponent on personal financial matters, U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon quickly paid an overdue tax bill Friday on a Stamford penthouse that she owns with her husband.
The couple received notice on Sept. 13 from the city’s tax collector that they were late on a $27,055 payment for the condo in Trump Parc, a 34-story luxury high-rise in Stamford affiliated with real estate mogul Donald Trump. The tax payment was due Aug. 1.
On Friday morning, a clerk in Stamford’s Office of Assessment and Tax Collection confirmed the McMahons’ outstanding balance of $28,272 in overdue taxes, which included a $1,217 interest charge.
The Day alerted McMahon’s campaign staff to the unpaid taxes later that morning. After looking into the matter, her campaign manager, Corry Bliss, claimed that a glitch in the city’s tax collection system resulted in the McMahons never receiving the original bill — only the late notice.
By early afternoon, the condo’s tax bill for a full year — $55,327 — had been paid in full through June 2013. The payment was made in person by check.
“They just never received the first bill,” McMahon’s campaign spokesman, Todd Abrajano, said. “The only one they received was the one that said they were late. They had never been late on that property before.”
Bill Forker, tax collector for Stamford, issued a statement saying he “cannot confirm or deny Ms. McMahon's receipt of a tax bill,” and said the city has fielded past complaints about property owners not receiving bills.
Linda and Vince McMahon purchased the two-story penthouse in October 2009 for $4.1 million and are co-owners, records show. The approximately 3,500 square-foot unit has eight rooms, including three bedrooms and a Jacuzzi.
McMahon has faulted her Democratic opponent, Chris Murphy, for missing rent, mortgage and car payments in the mid-2000s.
The current 5th Congressional District representative, Murphy says he promptly paid all those bills once the overdue balances came to his attention.
On Thursday, Linda McMahon announced that she and Vince intend to repay with interest any surviving private individuals who were creditors in their nearly $1 million 1976 bankruptcy filing.
The McMahons are in the process of contacting the creditors and have already reached a few of them, her campaign said Friday. The payments will be made at four times the original amount.
Earlier this month McMahon said there are big differences between her family’s financial troubles in the 1970s and Murphy’s more recent problems paying his bills. An elected official should be held to a higher standard than a private citizen, she said.
Upon learning of McMahon’s overdue tax bill, a spokesman for Murphy accused the Greenwich millionaire and professional wrestling mogul of hypocrisy.
“McMahon can’t lie her way out of this one,” spokesman Ben Marter said. “She’s been caught red-handed skipping out on the taxes on her $4 million luxury penthouse at the Trump (Parc) ... and only paid it back today, after she was caught.”
But McMahon’s campaign called Murphy the real hypocrite, pointing to recent revelations that he was late on his car taxes seven times between 1998 and 2005 and in paying a real-estate tax bill in 2005.
Murphy also briefly faced eviction proceedings in 2003 as a state senator for missing rent and later foreclosure proceedings in 2007, two months after his congressional swearing in. Murphy claims he can’t recall the number of rent and mortgage bills he initially forgot to pay.
The missed payments were first reported by the Hartford Courant. McMahon’s recent campaign ads also allege that Murphy obtained preferential loan treatment from a bank, a claim he and the bank deny.
“It’s blatantly obvious that Congressman Murphy is in the midst of covering up his own property tax problem,” Bliss said in a statement. “Murphy’s refusal to answer any questions or release any documents regarding his growing ethics problems simply proves to Connecticut voters he is just another corrupt, career politician who will do or say anything to get elected to higher office.”
For Murphy, McMahon’s tax bill flap reveals a different pattern.
“She will do and say anything to make millions of dollars for herself — mistreat her workers, ship jobs to China, use legal jujitsu to avoid paying back her debts, and now, skipping over $29,000 in property tax payments for her luxury condo,” Marter said.