Newman and Washington face tax charges

Both Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington and former Columbia City Councilman Brian Newman have turned themselves in to authorities in connection with a tax investigation, and Newman’s attorney says he will plead guilty today.

Here’s The State‘s story, which I assume will soon be updated:

A former Columbia city official and a current Richland County councilman turned themselves into law enforcement Tuesday to face tax charges stemming from an ongoing investigation by the S.C. Department of Revenue.

Former Columbia City Councilman Brian Newman, 33, a local attorney who owns his own practice specializing in criminal defense, will plead guilty to two counts of willful failure to file timely tax returns for a total of $201,179 and be sentenced at a hearing scheduled for 2 p.m., his attorney Bakari Sellers said.

“He wants to get this wrapped up,” Sellers said. Already Newman has filed his back-tax returns and has paid his back taxes, which total about $9,800, Sellers said.

Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington, 51, is charged with three counts of failing to file income tax returns for 2012, 2013 and 2014 for a total $426,000 in alleged unreported income. He is represented by attorneys Mike Duncan, Tim Rogers and Rep. James Smith, D-Richland….

It’s somewhat unclear at this point whether there’s any direct connection between these charges and the county’s penny sales tax, the handling of which the state Department of Revenue is investigating, except in this sense: “In a detailed audit such as the…  one DOR has done of the penny sales tax program, it is routine for auditors to check the income tax records of top people involved.”

But who knew Newman was even involved in that? The big shock in today’s news (to me, anyway), is the name of Brian Newman. The voters of District 2 just can’t seem to catch a break — first E.W. Cromartie, now this. Here’s hoping they fare better with Ed McDowell

13 thoughts on “Newman and Washington face tax charges

  1. Bob Amundson

    Mr. Newman was just sentenced ordering restitution, a $10,843 fine, and two years probation. Details to come om restitution, I suppose.

    1. Mark Stewart

      So basically a free pass (plus attorney fees). At least he admitted quilt upfront. Jury is out as to whether that is “honorable”, however.

      Is this the new way around legislative ethic roadblocks? Go for the tax avoidance angle? If it worked for Capone, it can (and should) work for SC legislators.

      1. Juan Caruso

        Since Brian De Quincey Newman is an attorney, professional courtesy (reduced lawyer fee) applies in his case.

        His excuse (thought that he had paid his taxes) may seem rather lame for a practicing attorney, but in years leading up ti 1984, the IRS reported that attorneys were the most deficient profession when it came to timely filing and payment of their taxes.

        Since then, these natural friends of the press and their K-Street colleagues have managed to discourage the IRS freom collecting and reporting such unflattering statistics.

        I Never saw a word in the press about that lobbying effort, did you?

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Well….yeah. We don’t want the IRS to be telling everyone about all the lawyers who don’t file their taxes. If they did that, then pretty soon, people wouldn’t think so highly of us.

  2. Doug Ross

    If you want to read the gory details of the penny tax scam, The Nerve is doing the work the local press is either unable or unwilling to do:

    Here’s a nice tidbit:

    “A review of the 166-page program management agreement between the county and the PDT reveals payment schedules that do not conform with industry standards, including $3 million for two public relations firms – Campbell Consulting Group and BANCO Bannister Company ($1.5M each) – that has drawn criticism since the county already has a fully staffed public relations team and other questionable expenditures such as fee schedules for PDT personnel that include $54/hr for an intern, $43/hr for a student intern and $72/hr for a clerical position. In fact, among the 75 positions listed in Exhibit E, 52 pay $100 or more per hour, with 27 of those paying $150 or more and eight paying $200 or more per hour.”

    Liars and thieves…

    1. Barry

      Ron Aiken with The Nerve broke the tax evasion story. Ron was on WVOC this morning talking about his story.

      The State picked up on his story. They even used the picture of the two law breakers that Ron put together for The Nerve.

      Ron wasn’t too happy that they used his reporting and picture without credit.

      I guess The State wasn’t too interested in this story since they got scooped by The Nerve.

      They did have some good pictures of the two sitting in the holding cell at the detention center.

      Who is The State in bed with?

    2. Barry

      The Nerve does a much better job in local reporting than The State or any other media group in the Midlands.

      It’s not even close. They dive into the details , do good work, and ask hard questions.

  3. susanincola

    Does it say anywhere what kinds of tax returns these are? It seems odd that one would not file years worth of personal income tax returns, so I was wondering if they were more like corporate returns of some sort, whether income tax or sales tax or employee-related taxes?
    Not that it matters that much, but failing to file personal income tax returns just seems bizarre to me.

    Does anyone know what it actually is they didn’t file?

    1. Barry

      The story repeatedly says “his taxes.” I assume it wouldn’t say “his taxes’ if it was actually business or employee related taxes.

      He’s a lawyer and just didn’t file his personal income taxes for 2012, and 2013.

      I am not the smartest guy in the room, and I am not attorney, but I am the father of 3 young children, have a full time job, and I can promise you – I’ve never come close to forgetting to file my taxes for 2 years (or 1 year).

      Makes you wonder what else is going on with the man that would cause him to purposefully skip filing his taxes for 2 years.

      But apparently the local media folks aren’t really interested in the story.

      Nice deal if you can get it.

  4. Bob Amundson

    S Corporations (many small businesses) and LLCs (many attorneys) report business income on the 1040 form (off the top of my head, on Schedule C; my accountant takes care of that for me). It disappoints me that these public figures don’t follow the rules.

    1. Barry

      I have filed business income on my own personal taxes. But they were my taxes.

      They “forget” to follow the rules.

      Common sense tells you that a public figure in a small city or small county would make sure their personal taxes are filed – even if late.

      I assume there is a reason he failed to file his own taxes. When you try to hide stuff, failing to file your taxes is part of the game.

      1. Barry

        Looking more like Mr. Newman didn’t forget anything.

        He was neck deep in shenanigans.

        Now Bakari Sellers, Newman’s attorney, has no comment. Maybe Mr. sellers will have to stop his CNN appearances for a few days where he is commenting on every national story to actually figure out what the heck his client was thinking.

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