Monday, October 25, 2010

Horton Failed to Report Profit on Rhode Island Land Deal

Last week, I posted a story about State Representative candidate Michael Horton, who's running against Justin Simmons in the 131st legislative district, possibly the only state House race that's really in play here in the Lehigh Valley. I am concerned about three tax liens that Horton has managed to accumulate in three different states, although they are all paid. I also wondered how the VP of a Fortune 500 corporation could have a car repossessed back in the '90s. At the suggestion of a reader, I did reach out to Horton for explanations, and he seemed to blame everyone but himself for his problems.

Since that time, Horton has told The Morning Call he's no tax delinquent, even though just last year, he was cited for contempt over unpaid federal income taxes in an admittedly complicated mess with his ex-wife. And on Saturday, his campaign released a statement blasting Simmons.

“"I'’m not surprised that an inexperienced 24-year-old who'’s never owned a home, paid property taxes, or run a business would fail to understand how this system works,"” Horton said of Simmons’ attacks. "“During my years in the Army and in the private sector, I’'ve paid my bills and worked hard to support my family. It is inexcusable for my opponent to attack my record with this false information and these outright lies."”

When he spoke with me, Horton acknowledged that he did convey a Rhode Island investment property in 2005. This property's total assessed value is currently set at $308,600. It also appears that Horton sold the home for twice what he originally paid.

So what's my point?

Every year, Horton must file a Statement of Financial Interests with the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission. As a Constable, and he was a Constable in 2005, he must report "DIRECT OR INDIRECT SOURCES OF INCOME" of $1,300 or more, including capital gains.

Horton's 2005 ethics statement fails to reveal this capital gain, which certainly was in excess of $1,300. Nor do any others.

So does Horton understand how the system works?

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Horton's premise that his Republican opponent at 24 isn't capable of representing his community never made any sense since our very own Uncle Sam entrusted a 21-year-old Horton with the lives of 100 fellow Americans, at least according to Horton himself.

Anonymous said...

West Point and our Military train the best leaders in the world. Everyone the world over acknowledges that. Military experience cannot be compared to a college education and working in an office. Justin even you are't that far gone

Bernie O'Hare said...

"West Point and our Military train the best leaders in the world. Everyone the world over acknowledges that."

While I think Horton should be proud of his West Point graduation, it ain't all that. It produced Eisenhower, but it also produced Custer.

Also, why the reluctance to provide details? Horton has not provided me a copy of his DD214. I'd also like to know his class rank at West Point.

Anonymous said...

Has Simmons been collecting unemployment since he quit his job?

Anonymous said...

You can't collect unemployment if you quit your job, only if you lose it. Stick to the points: Horton didn't pay his taxes and didn't file the required ethics statements. And, according to this blog's interview, blames the world for his misdeeds. I also know at West Point they teach honesty and integrity (it's in the Honor Code). I don't think Horton is doing very well on that front.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone in the world."

Talk about exaggeration!

Anonymous said...

Did Horton pay his taxes, his bills, his debts or not? Seems pretty simple question. All he needs to do is provide documentation. Where is it?

Anonymous said...

Did Horton ever provide evidence he supervised 100 soldiers in a South American country? After learning about his tax evasion issues, where is his military proof of service.

Anonymous said...

"Did Horton pay his taxes, his bills, his debts or not? Seems pretty simple question. All he needs to do is provide documentation. Where is it?

8:46 AM"

I'm sure that he wont provide it because he didn't do it

Anonymous said...

I went back and re-read your interview with Horton. Has he faxed you the documentation he said he would?

Do the documents you have say he paid a lien in California or not? I wouldn't pay a lien if it was "filed in error" as Horton claims.

The more time that goes by without Horton providing his "proof" the more inclined I am to agree with Simmons' claims and your original posting on the tax liens and car loan.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie! Check out Simmons' Statement of Financial Interest. He says he was "not employed" in 2009. Wasn't he an intern with the Senate? Looks like an incorrect filing. How about his indirect sources of income? Doesn't he live with Mommy and Daddy? Doesn't he have to disclose that? No debts? Not even college loans? This guy is a joke! At least Horton worked for a living.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Why don't you post Simmons' Statement of Financial Interests too?

Anonymous said...

"At least Horton worked for a living."

But it looks like he wasn't very upfront paying his debts.

Anonymous said...

Glad someone is looking into Horton. Shame the newspapers don't look into candidates anymore. Wonder what else is out there.

Anonymous said...

It's about now one suspects Horton regrets running for public office. A few months ago, hardly anyone outside his family and friends knew his financial private matters. Now, everyone does.

Anonymous said...

It's right about now Horton regrets saying he was some great successful businessman when apparently he wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Most interns don't get paid.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"At least Horton worked for a living."

And, since he brought it up, we still don't know why he left a Fortune 500 company.

Patrick McHenry said...

Anonymous said...

"Did Horton ever provide evidence he supervised 100 soldiers in a South American country? After learning about his tax evasion issues, where is his military proof of service."

*********************************

Do we even know what his job in the military was? Was he supervising combat troops or clerks.

I guess some of that might be on Horton's DD 214, which he won't provide.

Anonymous said...

Case closed on the Horton's taxes--the Morning Call's article Saturday proved the taxes are satistifed, but Simmons continues to go to the well on this one. Why? Because lying about his opponent is the only way to beat Horton. Many Republicans I know are leaving Simmons now because of it. Horton's views are actually quite conservative. Simmons is a Christine O'Donnell Tea Party parrot.

Anonymous said...

Where did they get that hard hat picture of Horton? His campaign must be kicking themselves thinking that was a good idea. Kinda like Beetle Bailey Mike Dukakis in the tank.

I Owe I Owe off to another state I go! Can't get that song out of my head....

Anonymous said...

"Do we even know what his job in the military was? Was he supervising combat troops or clerks"

this distinction seems germane only to someone living in momma's basement.

Patrick McHenry said...

Anonymous said:

"this distinction seems germane only to someone living in momma's basement."

**********************************

Sorry, but it makes a big difference to those of us who served and see his service being used for self-promotion.

He is claiming to have supervised a large number of men. We deserve to know the details.

If he isn't ashamed of his service, let him produce his DD-214 for all to see.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the instructions for the financial interest statement Horton filed, you will see that it defines income as follows: “Income includes any money or thing of value received or to be received AS A CLAIM ON FUTURE SERVICES OR IN RECOGNITION OF SERVICES RENDERED IN THE PAST" (emphasis added).

Translation: Selling a house and making a profit off of it does not count as income. It's only income if you're exchanging the house for work or services performed. Which it doesn't seem is what Horton did.

This is just more of the same from Simmons. As was noted by several other commenters, the Morning Call clearly verified that two of the three tax issues Simmons has brought up were not Horton's responsibility, and the other was the result of a messy divorce.

Bernie, you should check your facts before you post untrue accusations online for all to see. It's unfortunate that you're buying into Simmons' lies without looking at what actually happened.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are incorrect. Direct and indirect sources of income specifically include capital gains. They even include prize winnings! You are reading a portion of the definition and twisting it so that you can find an excuse for Hortone. What I'd like to know is why he did not report this and when he plans to do so.

Anonymous said...

You're right that it can include those things, but you're only required to report them if they're exchanged for services.

Here's the whole sentence from the instructions on filling out the form: “Income includes any money or thing of value received or to be received AS A CLAIM ON FUTURE SERVICES OR IN RECOGNITION OF SERVICES RENDERED IN THE PAST, whether in the form of a payment, fee, salary, expense, allowance, forbearance, forgiveness, interest, dividend, royalty, rent, capital gain, reward, severance payment, proceeds from the sale of a financial interest in a corporation, professional corporation, partnership or other entity resulting from termination/withdrawal therefrom upon assumption of public office or employment or any other form of recompense or combination thereof."

So yes, Horton did sell the property. And yes, capital gains can count as income. But the key here is still the all caps part. Was there an exchange of services? If so, he has to report it. If not, he doesn't have to report it. Which is why he didn't.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't want to get into a grammar with you, but you're reading it wrong. You forgot this sentence. "The term refers to gross income; it includes prize winnings and tax-exempt income"

Let's forget grammar and use logic. When the hell could prize winnings ever be the result of future services or services performed in the past? No income includes income, which is for services performed in the past or expected to be performed in the future. It also includes other types of income, and both capital gains and prize winnings are specifically mentioned. Come to think of it, capital gains are never the result of services performed, so why have that in there at all unless income is intended to include capital gains?

Horton needs to file a new Statement of Financial Interests.