Pawtucket Investigating Lincoln Fire Chief for Avoiding Car Taxes
Friday, August 20, 2010
City Solicitor Margaret Lynch-Gadaleta said the city was reviewing the case and had yet to make a final decision. “Generally speaking if we’re owed back taxes by an individual or a corporation, we would pursue that,” Lynch-Gadaleta told GoLocalProv.
She said normally someone should not be able to register their personal car at a city or town office. Her office is checking with state police to make sure there isn’t some loophole that makes it legal. “Whether there is some crazy scenario in this case—I don’t know,” she said.
Earlier this week, GoLocalProv reported that Sylvester had been illegally registering as many as three of his personal cars at the Lime Rock Fire District station since 1988, when he first came on the job. As a result, Sylvester has benefited from the considerably lower car tax rate of $33.66 per $1,000 of assessed value in Lincoln—compared to the Pawtucket rate of $53.30. This year alone, he saved nearly $900.
Sylvester has said he keeps his cars because of the demands of his job. But even when he took a leave of absence from the job, he still kept his cars at the station.
Both candidates for mayor in Pawtucket condemned his actions. “It’s not legal. It’s not ethical,” said Henry Kinch, Jr, who is also the clerk for the Providence County Superior Court. “I think it’s inexcusable behavior. You can’t do it—it’s very black and white.”
Given how high the tax rate is, it is all the more important that every resident share the burden, said mayoral candidate Donald Grebien.
“Pawtucket residents, myself included, already pay the second highest car tax in the state. That makes it even more important that everybody pays their fair share,” Grebien told GoLocalProv. “Some residents who have not received a bill in years will be receiving one this year. But there can be no excuse for not registering a vehicle where it should be registered and paying the proper local taxes.”
As mayor, Grebien said he would address the issue of car tax delinquents—making sure everybody pays their fair share.
Sylvester has previously told GoLocalProv that if it is proved that his cars are illegally registered in Lincoln that he would be more than happy to move them to Pawtucket.
New System Would End Tax Avoidance
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation in Pawtucket, a change in how cars are registered through the DMV will make it impossible for someone like Sylvester to continue registering his car at his workplace, rather than his home, according to Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for Gov. Don Carcieri.
She said the old system of registering cars relied on what people self-reported to the DMV. “Right now you go in with your license and it’s self-disclosure and it's based on good faith,” Kempe said. “It’s an archaic system.”
She said the DMV is changing to a new computer system that will automatically match the address where your car is registered to the address on your license. Anyone who wants to register their car somewhere else would have to go through an appeals process with their local town or city.
Kempe declined to comment on the specifics of the Sylvester case, although she expressed surprise at the story. “I would have no idea how someone could register their car to a municipal building or office,” Kempe said. “It’s not their residence.”
- Top Lincoln Official Uses Job to Avoid Taxes
- Lincoln Official Avoiding Taxes: View the Documents
- GoLocalProv Investigation Uncovers More Tax Cheating in Lincoln
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