Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County clerk of court candidates trade barbs

NEW PORT RICHEY — The staid Republican primary for clerk of the court has become anything but at the 11th hour.

In 2003, candidate Dan Tipton, the former mayor of New Port Richey, paid off an IRS tax lien of $23,840.82. He said he didn't pay his personal income taxes right away because of a dispute with the government over what he owed in 1996 and 1997.

"I found out too late you can't fight the government," Tipton said. "So I just paid the bill."

His opponent, Chief Deputy Clerk Paula O'Neil, is making an issue out of it. Her campaign consultant, Colleen Mackin, e-mailed the St. Petersburg Times a copy of the 2003 satisfaction of lien on Wednesday evening.

She noted that Tipton also fell behind on his property taxes in 1994 and 1995 but eventually paid up. O'Neil said voters should be aware of her opponent's tax history.

"The information was forwarded to us," she said, "so we forwarded it to (the Times) in case (they) thought it was newsworthy.

"I've tried to run a clean campaign and I've constantly had my record misrepresented and taken jab after jab."

Tipton defended himself by saying he never hid his tax issues and that he paid his debts.

"Like most business people, I've had good years and bad years," said Tipton, who owns an interior design business.

The candidates then had their most contentious exchanges of the campaign season.

O'Neil criticized a Tipton mailing that said she has no executive experience. O'Neil said since her appointment as chief deputy clerk in 2006, she has run the office's day-to-day operations.

She also disputed Tipton's assertion that he "led the charge," as his mailing said, to lower New Port Richey's property tax rate. He served as mayor from 2004 to this spring.

"He's taking credit for state-mandated tax reductions," O'Neil said.

"Tallahassee had nothing to do at all with that," Tipton replied.

Then he criticized O'Neil for making an issue of his tax lien days before Tuesday's election.

Tipton said O'Neil has touted her managerial experience but said she's then blamed the office's shortcomings on her boss, incumbent Clerk Jed Pittman.

"If it's good, she'll take the credit," Tipton said. "If it's bad, she'll put it back on her boss. I think you take the good with the bad in anything you do."

To which O'Neil replied: "I don't have complete control of the office, and as mayor of New Port Richey he didn't have complete control of the city, either."

Pasco County clerk of court candidates trade barbs 08/21/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Deadliest Catch' captain talks reality TV, Snoop Dogg and Tampa Bay

    Outdoors

    Keith Colburn is best known as captain of the Wizard on the Discovery Network series Deadliest Catch. Colburn and crew go to battle in the Bering Sea working one of the deadliest jobs in America. A seasoned veteran, Keith has filmed 11 seasons of the show and is still going strong with his relief captain …

    Captain Keith Colburn is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel. Courtesy of the Discovery Channel
  2. Police: Video shows teens watching, laughing as man drowns

    Accidents

    COCOA — Authorities in Florida say a group of teens watched and laughed as a man drowned in a retention pond last week.

    Jamel Dunn drowned in a retention pond in the city of Cocoa on July 9. Cocoa police say they later discovered a group of teens recorded the 31-year-old's drowning on video. [Florida Today]
  3. As Rubio avoids public settings on health care, disabled Tampa man's story gets attention

    Blogs

    Michael Phillips was hunting demons Monday night when the news broke: The Senate health care bill was dying.

    Michael Phillips at home in Tampa with his mother, Karen Clay
  4. Shark Week 2017: Michael Phelps races a shark and other must-see specials

    Blogs

    It's that time of year again. No, not back to school month or geek convention season -- it's Shark Week.

    For almost 30 years, Discovery Channel has brought a full week of special programs on the toothy underwater predators through Shark Week.
  5. HomeTeam 100: Players 51-60

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA - Wharton defensive back AJ Hampton will help lead the Wildcats into the 2017 season. Taken 7-6-17 by Scott Purks