IF YOU GO
• What: Candidates forum
• When: 6:30 p.m. tonight
• Where: Walker County Civic Center, 10052 N. Highway 27, Rock Spring, Ga.
• Candidates expected to attend: Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell and her challenger Ales Campbell; Republican Sheriff Steve Wilson and Democratic challenger Tim Westbrook; Republican John Deffenbaugh and Democrat Thomas McMahan, both challengers for State House District 1.
In her first-ever campaign, write-in candidate Ales Campbell faces a new challenge in the political world: Responding to information surfacing on Facebook that she and her husband have let taxes go unpaid.
According to state, federal and county records, Campbell -- who's challenging Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell -- and her husband Kenneth C. Campbell at one time had a $28,435 federal tax lien and a $10,849 state tax lien against their Shinbone Valley Road residence.
"Everything that's been against us like that in the past is either canceled, paid, invalid, or whatever," Campbell said Monday. "It's all been dealt with."
In 2010 and 2011, the couple, who jointly run a LaFayette, Ga., land surveying business, also owed Walker County a total of $298 personal property taxes on their business, but paid that recently, said county Deputy Tax Collector Karen Walker.
"She actually paid online immediately," Walker said.
The payment was made after "it was put on Facebook, where a lot of things come out now," he said.
Campbell said her husband thought he had paid the county property tax bills, which were taxes on their business equipment.
"K.C. thought he'd paid those," Campbell said. "However, we could not find a canceled check, so I immediately went and paid it. It's very unfortunate. However, that's just the way it is. I wish I could change it, but I can't."
The couple had a lien placed against their home by the state in 2009 for $10,849 worth of unpaid individual income taxes from 2004, according to a document filed at the Walker County Courthouse. The couple owed $4,361 in principal, $2,943 in interest, a penalty of $1,737, a collection fee of $1,808 and $25 in costs, according to a breakdown on the document.
Campbell indicated on a Facebook site that the state had been paid and the release of the lien should be filed soon at the county courthouse. But there's no record of the state releasing the lien on file at the Walker County Courthouse. Georgia Department of Revenue officials weren't available Monday because of the Columbus Day holiday.
The federal lien of $28,435 was for returns filed in 2003, 2004 and 2006, according to a document signed on April 3, 2008. The federal lien has been released, according to a certificate signed on Feb. 15, 2012.
On Facebook, Campbell explained that the federal lien stemmed from wage garnishment against an employee that the Campbells stopped paying after the employee was fired.
Despite responding on the Facebook pages, Campbell is not happy with what she called attacks against her on social media sites.
"There is one in particular social media site that I've had to stop looking at because it's gotten so -- I don't even have a word for it," Campbell said. "I see those attacks as that -- just tactics trying to change the focus. I'm not going to retaliate in that area."
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...