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Oxford Identifies $10.2 Million in Delinquent Taxes

Amounts could be lower because of bad accounting and criminal activity at the tax office. Officials trying to determine who really owes.

Local officials have identified hundreds of delinquent taxpayers who, combined, are believed to owe the town of Oxford more than $10 million in back taxes going back 15 years.

However, the exact amount may be less, officials said, because bad accounting practices and criminal theft and forgery in the tax office over that time may have caused some people’s accounts to look like they had a delinquency when in fact they may not have.

First Selectman George Temple and new Tax Collector Cayenne Spremullo held a news conference at on Tuesday to discuss the recently identified back tax issue. They explained the situation to four local news reporters and provided them with a list containing hundreds of names of taxpayers who currently have a delinquency note on file. (See list attached.)

The town will now attempt to reach the people who are showing as delinquent and figure out whether they have paid. If they have not, the town will take action, Temple said, and could either work with taxpayers to recoup the money or take drastic measures such as filing tax liens against the properties and/or auction off properties where owners owe a lot of money.

While officials say there are people who may have blatantly disregarded their duty to pay taxes, they realize there is a strong possibility others may be on their delinquent list even though they paid their fair share. That’s because former Tax Collector has been arrested and accused of embezzling more than $670,000 from the tax office – a number that many believe is higher – and she would play with numbers to cover up her thefts, police say. Therefore, there are some taxpayers who paid but have a delinquency on their accounts because Guillet did not credit accounts of people who paid to make it look like that is why her collection batches were short when in fact they were short because she was pocketing money, police investigators said.

Still, Oxford wants to find out who actually owes money and has gone back 15 years, the fullest extent of the law, to determine the facts. They have discovered the computer system shows delinquencies totaling $10.28 million.

“The totals involved include amounts owed due to clerical errors  and poor accounting,” Temple said, adding that there were other mistakes leading to "amounts that can only be explained by past dishonesty and taxes in fact that are owed..."

“In addition, clerical errors will be corrected and action will be taken to insure that no such errors happen in the future,” he said. “This does not mean the town will embark on a heartless rampage against people who may be victims of the economy, but we will enforce collection wherever it is deemed necessary.”

We will bring Oxford Patch readers more on this story. See the attached PDF for a list of people on the delinquency list and how much they owe. Please note that we realize the PDF is sideways. We've tried to rotate it but have been unsuccessful. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. The list is on file at Town Hall. 

Patty February 15, 2012 at 03:32 AM
The town should bring this list to the grand jury with Karen in tow!
Paul Singley February 15, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Apparently there are several people who are upset about the way this information was released, the fact that many of the people on here say they have actually paid and they say the town today is not helping them rectify the situation. Not saying that's true, but needless to say, we'll be following up on this one.
Paul Singley February 15, 2012 at 03:21 PM
We've rotated the list to make it easier to read, fyi.
CMG February 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
If people have paid their taxes, it should be no big deal the list was released. I could care less my name is on there; I know I paid. I think it will make the people who didn't pay shake in their shoes. I really don't see the big issue of it being posted. They always post in the paper people who owe back taxes. We have Karen to thank for this. I wouldn't blame Mr. Temple for this. Get mad at Karen. I don't think any less of seeing a lot of my family and friends on that list. I just keep thinking what a complete scum Karen is for doing this to the many people she knew and probably even considered friends. Besides, if people really owed back taxes, then a lien should have been put immediately on their property. If this wasn't done, that's the Town's fault and as far as I'm concerned, it's the Town who has the burden of proof of proving who paid what. The previous administrations obviously never supervised what Karen was doing. It's their problem, not ours. So they better figure it out.
John M. Joy February 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Um, no. If someone's name is on this list in error, and they're in the process of refinancing or selling, they may discover their lender/buyer has second thoughts, as clear title may now be in doubt.
CMG February 15, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I am on that list and l just refinanced. I had a title search done and nothing was on it. The bank cannot go by a news article. They have to go by what's on your title search. If no liens show up, you are clear.
John M. Joy February 15, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Unless your closing was at nine o'clock this morning, your experience is irrelevant.
CMG February 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I see you like to argue with everyone. I won't be a part of that. I work for lawyers. I know where I stand.
John M. Joy February 15, 2012 at 04:13 PM
This is not about me, it's about Town policy. And frankly, I don't care if you're Michael the Archangel working for the Almighty himself.
MOM February 15, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I believe that while my name is not on the list, this issue could have been handled better. For example, instead of posting people's names in a document for the press to FOI (if that happened) and post for all to see, what about the courtesy of a personal letter from the tax collectors office or a certified letter instead? This is very upsetting to those who have paid their taxes right from the get-go because while they know they paid, their reputation is now on the line unnecessarily. People I know that are on this list have re-financed and as you know if you don't pay your taxes, you don't get to refinance. How can this be???
MOM February 15, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Yes, was difficult to read last night, thanks Paul!
Betty Ippolito February 15, 2012 at 05:00 PM
This administration was just recently sworn into office and look what a great job they have done in uncovering this unbelievable mess our past tax collector has caused our town and its people. How come the last administration didn't uncover it??? They evidently didn't do any investigating after Karen was let go. Why didn't they? They should have found this, they had plenty of time before a new election. We should have answers to this, because as far as I'm concerned they owe us an answer as does Karen. The people who paid their taxes know that they did, and if you are going to be angry at anyone let it be Karen and company. I say to Mr. Temple and Ms. Spremullo, thank you for doing a good job.
CMG February 15, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Well said...thank you Mr. Temple and Ms. Spremullo! Keep up the good work.
John M. Joy February 15, 2012 at 05:40 PM
...and leaving the "Amen!" corner for a moment... Paul: were you aware there's an enhanced police presence at Town Hall today?
MyGoodPeople February 15, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I know several people on that list and contacted them. Lo and behold they all paid when due and should not have been on this list. This is such a mess. I don't understand why an audit was not performed upon discovery of Karen's short falls. Answers need to be found.
Paul Singley February 15, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Yes. Thank you. I was just there. There is one state trooper. Some people have been irate; most just want this situation rectified. Hopefully, it will be soon. Thanks again, John.
John M. Joy February 15, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Hopefully, but I'm not betting on it. How does my grandfather, over three decades in the grave - and almost two decades as of the 1999 Grand List, the delinquency list on which his name appears - prove he's not delinquent? Does the delinquency lie with the property? If so, can the chain of owners since (and there have been many) be liable? How can a potential buyer of a parcel whose present owner is on the list be sure that, at some future date, a tax lien won't materialize? (I know that, if I were a buyer and I saw my seller's name on that list, there would be no closing today!)
OXC February 15, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Paul- there where three this morning after the Tax Collector had to call the police about a threatening situation involving a person on the list. They have now left one for good measure. All this so the First Element can get this name in the paper.
kim February 15, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Very poor handling of this issue, my name is on this list and my taxes are paid by my mortage company as well. I think it was completely irresponsible to release this list prior to all the facts be in place. Shame on you all, I would say you will be a one term Tax Collector for this town.
OXC February 15, 2012 at 09:01 PM
According to another news service George Temple said the next step in the process is to have a meeting with the Board of Finance, town treasurer, finance director, tax collector, and town attorney. "We’re going to have to figure out an approach that’s fair and equitable not only to the individual taxpayers, but the town,” Temple said. Maybe that should have been your first step instead of shamelessly throwing good peoples names out there as deadbeats.
Ellica Sabo February 15, 2012 at 09:22 PM
My name is also on the list, going back to 1999. I have always paid my taxes on time, and all this crap is very annoying thanks to Karen. I had to make four trips to town hall to get all this straighten out. If anyone else out there feels the same as me about all this, maybe we should get together and find some way of getting something back for all the trou le we have had to go thru. Ellica
get it straight February 15, 2012 at 09:26 PM
How is the tax collector to blame?? She is just playing the hand she was dealt-she did not release the list, to the contrary she advised against it, the first selectman chose to release the list and called the press conference to do so. It is his first attempt to get delinquent taxpayers to pay their fair share. Whether or not it was a good idea-it is on him, not on Ms Spremullo, so stop shaking your finger at the new tax collector, she is doing her best in an environment I would dare any of you to step into after the mess that last one left!
citizen kane February 15, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Hey Dave/MAD-R or anyone else that hides behind Pinch Hitter... Where do you get off in blaming G. Temple in anyway on this (adjective goes here) mess? Lets not forget who after knowing Karen did the stealing allowed Karen to work for an additional 6 weeks. In that time what do you think Karen did? She worked overtime in covering up as much as could be done. If anyone is to blame for the huge mess we're in now it's Mad-R! Who was MAD-R helping at that time? Think twice before you attempt to put blame on G. Temple.
Paul Singley February 15, 2012 at 10:22 PM
fyi we've posted a follow up: http://oxford-ct.patch.com/articles/list-of-delinquent-taxpayers-angers-oxford-residents
maddielen February 16, 2012 at 12:06 AM
What about the Auditors we hire every year? Are they not accountable for anything?
Mark Goumas February 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM
We are listed for 1999 and 2001. We did not even live or hold propoerty in Oxford from July 2000-April 2002
W.A.R. February 16, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Don't shrug off your name being on the "LIST" as nothing, by assuming that if you have paid your taxes, there will be no consequences! If you previously knew your credit rating score on the big Three Credit Rating Bureaus, ( Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian), check it again. If it as taken a hit, just try and explain it to them that it was just an error made by our Town. It will be just like trying to regain your impeccable identity once it has been stolen. Impossible!This seemingly innocent publication error WILL have long lasting consequences to your credit rating! Our only recourse will be to DEMAND that The First Selectman's office take remedial action with the Credit Bureaus and set the records straight.
MyGoodPeople February 17, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Willard you are mistaken sir. The only information on a credit report is submitted by a creditor ie; mortgage holder, credit card, or unpaid bills being handled by a credit collector or collection company. The information on that list shown on Patch will not be on a person's crdit report.
WAR February 17, 2012 at 03:32 PM
MGP: You are probably correct for the short term. But, lets move along down the road in regards to those who cannot or won't bother to clear their name from "The List". The Town will then turn the "debtors" over to a collection agency or place a lien on their property. NOW the Credit Bureaus will get updated! Or will the Town just write them off as bad debts? That will certainly set a convenient precedent! Another issue resulting from a lien is one's personal record when seeking employment, which is important in today's jobs environment. The Administration was quick to list clerical errors, poor accounting practices, and dishonesty as the reasons for generation of the list. If it was known to be error-tainted, why publish it at all? Slander anyone? But I digress. The bigger issue here is the publishing of this "List" without any forethought of its accuracy and the consequences and inconvenience thrust upon the good taxpayers of this town. Where has "innocent until proven guilty" gone? If "knee-jerk" reaction to such a situation is the way our town administrators are going to handle financial issues in the future, we are in trouble.
Citizen X February 21, 2012 at 03:31 AM
A few people have asked questions about the auditing firm, some have defended them by saying that they can't/don't check every line item. However, since the published list is showing tax receivables of $10.2 million, that should have shown up somewhere & is not an insignificant sum. Can we get clarification on where this figure would have been in the town's books & why the auditors wouldn't have pointed it out?

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