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Ralph Hughes' widow wants a federal judge to release more than $14,000 a month for expenses

TAMPA — The widow of Republican power broker Ralph Hughes wants a federal judge to release more than $14,000 a month for expenses from a frozen trust while she disputes an Internal Revenue Service claim that Hughes died owing millions in business and personal taxes.

Betty Hughes, 77, depended solely on payments from the trust to support her and a developmentally disabled son she cares for, court records show.

"Other than my husband's trust accounts, I have no source of income and no money to pay bills or to pay for my living expenses," Betty Hughes said in a federal court filing.

Earlier this year, the IRS filed claims against the estate of Ralph Hughes, an anti-tax crusader and political campaign financier. The government said that after Hughes died, he and his precast concrete company, Cast-Crete, owed $300 million in corporate and income taxes and penalties.

Hughes hadn't filed federal corporate income tax returns or made any payments from 2003 to 2007, the government said.

Hughes was a Republican advocate of smaller government who financially backed political candidates who shared his views. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on conservative political causes and campaigns. He died in 2008 at the age of 77.

According to her court filing, Betty Hughes hasn't worked a full-time job in 45 years. She has health problems associated with her age and pays for her and her disabled son's bills.

Her list of monthly expenses totals $14,420. It includes $6,056 for real estate taxes, $1,250 for electric utilities, $1,200 for food, groceries and meals, and $500 for personal care.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Ralph Hughes' widow wants a federal judge to release more than $14,000 a month for expenses 10/19/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 1:57am]
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