Huntsville District 5 council candidates Meredith, Culver take on claims of unpaid taxes, stolen signs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville City Council candidate John Meredith said Thursday morning his opponent, incumbent Councilman Will Culver, has failed to pay more than $44,000 in income taxes to the IRS.

Meredith held a press conference this morning to point out the IRS liens against Culver.

John Meredith, left, and Will Culver, right, are running for Huntsville City Council District 5. (WHNT News 19)

John Meredith, left, and Will Culver, right, are running for Huntsville City Council District 5. (WHNT News 19)

Meredith handed out copies of two federal tax lien notices filed with the Madison County Probate Court. The records date from 2012 and 2015 and show Culver, listed as self-employed, owing  a total of $44,873. The listed unpaid balances begin in 2007 and run annually until 2012.

Meanwhile, Culver, who represents City Council District 5, held a press conference Thursday afternoon, decrying  the theft of more than $3,000 worth of campaign signs. Culver said his presence has been effectively erased from his district due to large number of signs being stolen Aug. 6-7.

Culver said he has filed a complaint with the Huntsville Police Department and contacted the FBI. He urged anyone involved in the thefts to come forward and asked any witnesses to the sign thefts to come forward. Culver said he didn't know who was behind the sign thefts. He didn't single out the Meredith campaign, but said he didn't know if it was a theft case or something else.

Meredith also addressed the sign issue, saying he has had signs taken. He said his campaign had nothing to do with taking Culver signs, urged anyone doing so to stop, and supported pursuing anyone caught stealing Culver's signs.

Culver, who represents District 5, said he pays taxes every year, but the amounts listed represent penalties and interest related to late filings or partial payments. Culver said he has representatives working with the IRS to resolve the issue. Culver said they are negotiating final payment terms, but he expects his final payments to be lower than the current amounts listed.

The Madison County Probate Court said it is standard for the IRS to file a copy of a tax lien notice with the court, as a public record that can affect property sales and other matters. The court’s records show the same two documents Meredith handed out.

The IRS also files notices of release, the court said, when a partial or full payment is made for the unpaid taxes, but Culver’s file doesn’t show any IRS releases as of Thursday morning.

Meredith argued that Culver supported a 2014 Huntsville 1 percent sales tax hike, while “refusing to pay his own” taxes for “six consecutive years.” He called it the “height of hypocrisy.” He said residents from District 5 will “not tolerate criminal behavior from Council President Culver.”

The Huntsville City Council election is set for August 23.