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. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the fatal stabbing of two good Samaritans trying to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade on a Portland, Ore., light rail train.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  2. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  3. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  4. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  5. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence

    National

    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …