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Tom Feran
By Tom Feran October 17, 2012

Josh Mandel ad claims Sherrod Brown failed to pay his taxes three times

Claims and charges keep flying in the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Mandel opened the final month of the campaign with a TV ad focused on Brown's  tax lapses.

"Sherrod Brown caught not paying his taxes" are the announcer's first words, and the same words are displayed onscreen.

In a news release accompanying the ad, Mandel calls Brown "a serial delinquent when it comes to not paying his property taxes" because he "failed to pay his own taxes three separate times."

Mandel's campaign cited articles by The Plain Dealer and Associated Press as support for the claim.

PolitiFact Ohio looked at those stories and others. We also reviewed records from the District of Columbia's Office of Tax and Revenue.

The stories, in February 2012, reported that Brown had paid a penalty fee and interest a week earlier, after being four months late paying property tax on his Washington, D.C., apartment.

Brown owed $922.04 in property taxes for the last half of 2011. The taxes were due by Sept. 26, according to the District property tax office. His delinquency added another $76.96 as a late penalty and $46.18 for interest.

Brown also was delinquent in 2006 and 2007 and paid penalties and interest, according to tax records from the District. Before he paid the bill in 2007, his apartment was placed on a District of Columbia auction list for properties with taxes in arrears.

The delinquencies in 2006 and 2007 resulted in Brown paying a total of $735.07 in late charges and interest. Each of those original tax bills, excluding interest and fines, was for less than $900.

Brown was asked about the delinquency during a conference call with reporters last February. He said, "I was late. I misplaced the bill and I paid it as soon as I found out. I paid a penalty for being late, and it won't happen again."

He said he also had misplaced the earlier missed bills.

"This is a small apartment," he said. "I'm not in D.C. nearly every week, I'm here when the Senate's in session, I'm here three or four nights a week. I paid the penalty. And in no way, obviously, was I avoiding taxes."

Brown, who won his Senate seat in 2006 after serving seven terms in the House of Representatives, bought the one-bedroom apartment in 1993. He appeared to have paid the property taxes on time for a dozen years after that.

His primary residence is in Avon.

Mandel was accurate in saying that Brown failed to pay his taxes three separate times. Brown was late to pay. He did pay the taxes and penalty.

There is no indication he was trying to evade the tax, but that wasn’t part of Mandel’s claim, either.

On the Truth-O-Meter, the claim in the Mandel campaign ad rates True.

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Our Sources

Mandel for Senate, news release,  "Sherrod Brown Voted to Raise Taxes and Raise His Pay — But Didn’t Pay His Own Taxes Three Times," Oct. 2, 2012

Mandel for Senate, "Serial Delinquent," Oct. 2, 2012

The Plain Dealer via, "Sen. Sherrod Brown was delinquent on taxes for his D.C. condo," Feb. 15, 2012

Associated Press via Akron Beacon Journal, "Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown was late on his taxes," Feb. 15, 2012

The Columbus Dispatch, "Brown admits he was late on property tax," Feb. 15, 2012

Washington, D.C., Taxpayer Service Center

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Josh Mandel ad claims Sherrod Brown failed to pay his taxes three times

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