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Kelsey calls statements in political flier 'outright lie'

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, August 5, 2012, at 11:15 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, August 5, 2012, at 8:50 p.m.

Sen. Dick Kelsey said Sunday that a campaign mailer accusing him of owing thousands in back taxes is an “outright lie.”

The campaign mailer, from Alliance for America’s Future in Alexandria, Va., arrived in mailboxes on Saturday. The mailer claims that the District 26 state senator’s Senate Bill 98 would raise taxes on churches, and further claims, “He wants to raise our taxes. But didn’t pay his own taxes.”

The flier goes on to say, “Dick Kelsey runs a business, but had trouble paying his taxes on time. According to public records, Dick Kelsey still owes thousands in back taxes. He won’t pay his taxes, but he wants to raise ours?”

Kelsey said the flier is false. “There’s absolutely no truth that I owe any money in back taxes. I have paid every dime of every tax at every level,” he said.

Kelsey provided a written statement from his accountant, Stephen M. Criser, backing his claims.

Kelsey acknowledged that he did let taxes lapse on a vacant lot in Garden Plain “a couple of times” when contracts fell through on the property but he wasn’t specific on the dates. His other companies in Decatur County have been briefly late on taxes as recently as 2010, he said.

“That’s the nature of business,” he said. “Not every time taxes are due do you have the cash flow to pay them. They all get paid, though.”

He also confirmed that he bought property at 8635 S. Broadway in 2010; the property had delinquent taxes and the seller had to pay the taxes to make the deal, he said. He added the house is being sold on a “rent-to-own” basis to the occupant.

A check by The Eagle of several databases Sunday morning revealed no Internet public records suggesting the senator now owes back taxes.

Kelsey’s opponent, Rep. Dan Kerschen, said “Dick Kelsey’s taxes are of no interest to me.”

“We’ve run a decent campaign,” Kerschen said Sunday. “If it’s incorrect, we don’t support it.”

Kelsey is one of several Republicans targeted by the state chamber’s and the Wichita chamber’s political action committees, which are seeking to shift control of the Senate from moderate Republicans who have challenged some of Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals to more conservative Republicans more likely to support those proposals.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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