SPECIAL REPORT: Unpaid Taxes in Columbus
Updated: Monday, February 4 2013, 08:19 PM EST
COLUMBUS -- You pay taxes. They don’t.
ABC 6/FOX 28 uncovered thousands of cases involving individuals and businesses that owe taxes to the city of Columbus.
The amounts in collection right now total more than $34 million, an amount that would cover the city's parks and recreation fund, or its trash pickup services.
Attorney Nancy Weidman heads up Columbus's claims section, and says the business of collecting unpaid taxes can be difficult,
"We're collecting debt dating back to the 80s," Weidman said.
Large Bills Owed by Many
ABC 6/FOX 28 obtained documents from cases involving outstanding tax balances of at least $10,000. That list is 77 pages long and includes hundreds of cases. One of the worst offenders is Indianapolis-based Community Home Health Services, a company that previously had offices in Columbus, and currently owes the city $526,054.
"They take the withholding dollars that they take from their employees and they use it to keep their businesses going," Weidman said of Community Home Health Services. Real estate company Thompson & Thompson, which owned several area Burger King locations, is believed to have used similar methods while running up an unpaid tax bill of more than $50,000.
Collection Unlikely in Many Cases
While the city has identified thousands of parties on the hook for unpaid taxes -- getting those responsible to pay up is another matter.
Like Community Home Health Services, all Columbus offices of Angel Health Care have been abandoned, meaning the likelihood the company's $100,384 tax bill will be paid is very low.
Dublin's Paramount Financial Partners owes the city $212,402 -- but apparently owes much more to a host of other parties. The company's former owner, Von Cummings, served 20 months in prison for fraud and faces debts that amount to millions of dollars, or "a lot more than he owes in taxes to the city," according to Cummings's lawyer, Joseph Scott.
Scott told ABC 6/FOX 28 Cummings now lives in Miami, Florida, where he works as a financial analyst.
Weidman said city workers do their best to collect the taxes, and will work with those who are willing to take responsibility for their debts.
"Work with us. Help us. Pay us," Weidman said. "If you ignore all those and we have to sue you, our position is, 'Wow, you've made us take that ultimate action against you.' I'm not going to cut you a deal at that point."
Click here for a complete list of people/organizations that owe the city at least $10,000 in taxes.
Reporter: Mike Kallmeyer
Web Producer: Ken Hines