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North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Owes Nearly $300G In Back Taxes

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File photo of tax forms. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

File photo of tax forms. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Court records show the new head of the North Carolina Democratic Party owes nearly $286,000 in back taxes and penalties.

Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller was elected party chair earlier this month, pledging to rebuild an organization still reeling from defeats at the ballot box in November.

Records show the North Carolina Department of Revenue filed a 2010 lien against Voller and his wife with a remaining balance of nearly $98,801. The following year, the Internal Revenue Service filed a second lien with a remaining balance of nearly $187,715.

A real estate developer, Voller said Wednesday his family business was a casualty of the national economic downturn, which triggered a credit freeze in the homebuilding industry.

Voller, 44, said he is making monthly payments to the state that has brought his current balance lower than what’s on records obtained by The Associated Press, to about $67,000. He said he is negotiating with the IRS on a payment plan to settle the rest of that debt.

Voller stressed that he filed his taxes on time and that he is working diligently to pay what’s owed without being forced into bankruptcy, as many developers have. Now that the real estate market is showing signs of life, he said he is confident he can pay off his tax liabilities by the end of 2013.

“We’re keeping our obligations, but it has been very tough,” Voller said. “That’s why I feel that as party chair I have a real good insight into what a lot of folks are dealing with here in North Carolina.”

Voller said he recognized his personal troubles were likely to become political fodder, so he has spoken about the issue at party events. He also included mention of the tax debt in materials posted online as part of his recent campaign for state party chair.

Voller was in business with his father when the housing boom went bust in 2008. Though a lot of people who owed them money refused to pay, Voller said he sold off assets to raise cash and pay bills for the business with the intention of using a line of credit to pay the taxes owed for capital gains at the end of the year.

But when he tried to leverage his property holdings to get a loan and pay his tax bill, Voller said credit with the banks had dried up. Then his father got sick, dying last year at age 71.

“This is an emotional issue for me,” Voller said. “My feeling is most North Carolinians understand what it’s like to actually go out here and try to create jobs and fight. I think it gives me a lot of empathy for people in the state who have tried to do what’s right, help their family and still end up in a tough circumstance.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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