Two candidates seeking the Middletown Municipal Court judgeship faced tax issues, and one of the candidates said “it could” have cost him a May appointment to the bench.
Local attorneys James Sherron and Elizabeth Yauch, who are facing Judge Melynda Cook Howard in the Nov. 7 election, had tax liens placed on them, which have since been paid off, according to Butler County court records.
A tax lien is generally placed when a taxpayer fails to pay taxes owed.
Yauch had a personal income tax lien of $515.53 from 2008, which she said was from debt she inherited after a former law partner died in the 1990s.
Court records show her tax debt is paid.
Sherron said he received no notices from the state that he had more than $1,600 in tax liens regarding withholding tax in 2013 and 2017. Butler County Recorders Office records show he had an additional $10,000 in unemployment tax liens.
Sherron said he was unaware of the withholding tax liens until after his interview with Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the appointment to succeed the late Middletown Municipal Court Judge Mark Wall.
Sherron was the recommended pick by the Middletown contingent of the Butler County GOP to succeed Wall, and it was anticipated Kasich would appoint Sherron to the bench. History indicates Butler County GOP’s recommendation have generally been followed in similar situations.
It was Cook Howard, however, who Kasich appointed in May.
Ohio Attorney General’s Office spokesman Dan Tierney said he couldn’t talk specifically about Sherron’s case, but said in general a notice is sent to the address on file, and second notices are sent a month later.
Sherron said he paid the withholding tax liens as soon as he became aware.
As for the unemployment liens — which were from 2008 to 2015 — he said they were the result of “a posting error by the state after my office paid multiple quarterly payroll taxes with a single check. The state incorrectly posted the payments for one quarter instead of one for each quarter.”
Sherron said those tax liens were paid in full by Sept. 10, 2015, but the Butler County Recorders Office recorded the payments as satisfied in May 2017.
“… the same liens released in 2017 have my old office address on Central Avenue in Middletown,” Sherron said. “I have not been at that address since June of 2013. Other than that, I do not understand why it took the state two years to release the liens that were paid in full in 2015.”
Sherron circled “no” to the question: “Do you have any financial, business, or other conflicts of interest that could prevent you from holding judicial office?” on his judicial candidate form when seeking the Butler County GOP’s recommendation for appointment.
Butler County GOP Executive Chairman Todd Hall said the party “trusts our Republican candidates for office will be honest and forthcoming in their disclosure forms when appearing before our screening and executive/central committees. It is an honor system.”