KCBD INVESTIGATES: Following up on elected officials with delinq - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

KCBD INVESTIGATES: Following up on elected officials with delinquent taxes

Judge Ann-Marie Carruth (Source: Lubbock County) Judge Ann-Marie Carruth (Source: Lubbock County)
LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) -

We have a follow up on our investigation into elected officials with unpaid property taxes.

Last month, the KCBD Investigative Team reported on Lubbock city and county elected officials who were delinquent on their property taxes.

During this investigation, our team also learned the IRS placed a federal tax lien on an elected official's homestead.

This week, we checked the records for the same office holders who were delinquent on taxes in April.

On Wednesday morning, Justice of the Peace Ann-Marie Carruth and her husband still owed thousands on their property taxes and and records still reflected a federal income tax lien of more than $69,000.

However, by Wednesday afternoon, some of those numbers had changed.

We called Judge Carruth's office on Tuesday afternoon after discovering her property taxes were still unpaid nearly a month after our initial report.

We left a voicemail, but we did not hear back.

We checked the Lubbock Central Appraisal District's website again on Wednesday morning.

The website showed unpaid property taxes in the amount of $9,24.89 on her Lubbock home appraised at $481,934.

In addition, we found no changes in the federal tax lien against Judge Carruth and her husband Kyle in the amount of $69,640.43.

Later that afternoon, just after 3 p.m., we went to Judge Carruth's office with no cameras to speak with her about the unpaid taxes, but we were told she would be out of her office the rest of the afternoon.

A couple of hours later, Mr. Carruth called and told us the property taxes were paid in full.

He told us he paid them earlier that day.

The Carruth's information no longer appears on the LCAD website.

LCAD confirmed the judge filed a request for confidentiality, which was placed on the account just before 3 p.m. that day.

The KCBD Investigative Team saved a copy of the Carruth's information before it became confidential.

The LCAD records show that for the last five years, the Carruth's property taxes, which are due on January 31st, were consistently late.

It is something we asked Mr. Carruth about.

Mr. Carruth sent us this statement on Thursday afternoon, "We have done nothing wrong. We are a young family and like anyone else, we work hard to meet our obligations every year and do exactly that. We pay our property taxes each and every year and do so in June for personal financial reasons. This year is no exception, in fact the current owing amount has already been paid in full including all applicable penalties and interest."

We asked if we could speak with Judge Carruth since she is the elected official, but Mr. Carruth told us he would be our point of contact.

We had hoped to ask the judge about her court handling matters concerning foreclosures of mortgages and enforcement of liens on personal property.

The KCBD Investigative Team wanted to know if her own delinquent property and income taxes might create a conflict of interest when sitting on eviction or debt collection cases.

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct is the body that hears complaints against judges. The standard judges are held to is contained in the Code of Judicial Conduct.

We specifically wanted to ask Judge about Canon 2 that reads, "A judge shall comply with the law and should act all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."

Mr. Carruth also sent us this statement regarding the federal tax lien, "We are like millions of other Americans who, each year, dispute through the proper channels the amount owed to the IRS. We have been working closely with the IRS over the past two years to come to a resolution. As anyone who has dealt with the IRS before knows, resolutions are reached, over what can be very long periods of time and this is no exception. As we stated in the previous news story, once we have reached a resolution with the IRS we will pay the amount owed in full. We are following all proper IRS protocol in this dispute and have done nothing wrong."

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