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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. 

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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