WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Court documents from the Houston County Superior Court’s office say a Warner Robins council candidate owes thousands in back taxes, but he says it’s all a mistake.
They say City Council Post 2 candidate Eric Langston has two outstanding tax liens, which means he owes money to a state agency and the court has put a hold on his property.
They say Langston owes the state more than $1,600 from 2013 and more than $2,000 from the next year.
He says those documents are wrong.
“I’ve contacted the Department of Revenue this morning. I’ve contacted my tax preparer to see if I can understand what’s going on because I’m completely shocked. I pay my taxes every year like every hard-working American does,” said Langston.
He says the Georgia Department of Revenue says his balance for those years is zero.
WMAZ spoke to the Department of Revenue and they said they couldn’t confirm what’s in those documents, or release any of Langston’s personal information.
Warner Robins candidates sign a form when they qualify saying that they don’t owe any money to the city, state or county.
The Houston County Superior Court says there is the possibility that the liens were cancelled, but they did not receive the updated paperwork.
So, what does that mean for the December 3 runoff election?
Langston says city attorney Fred Graham told him the election is still going on as planned.
“Mr. Graham told me that as of right now…as they are still, I guess some people are looking into this is, ‘Stay the course, Eric. The election is going to happen and if this is paid or resolved or if it’s just a -- I don’t know… just a mistake, then we’ll let you know,’” said Langston.
City spokesperson Mandy Stella says Langston’s name is still on the ballot.
The next question: Could Langston hold office if he wins?
According to the Constitution of the State of Georgia Article II Section 2:
“No person who is…. A defaulter on for any federal… state… county… municipal… or school system taxes… shall be eligible to hold any office.”
However, it says that candidate would be eligible if they pay their back taxes in full or set up a payment plan.
Late Friday afternoon, city attorney Fred Graham told 13WMAZ they’ll wait and see who wins the election before trying to decide if Langston is eligible to serve.
He and Charles Bibb are running for the Post 2 seat, and early voting is underway.
Langston said he believes someone in his opponent’s camp dug up the documents and put them out for the public to see.
“It’s not really shocking to see this type of behavior from Mr. Bibb, but for him to throw this up in the middle of early voting is just a tactic to get voters confused,” said Langston.
WMAZ reached out to Bibb for comment and he said he had no idea the documents existed until he saw them floating around social media. He added that he isn’t surprised Langston is pointing fingers at him.
MORE WARNER ROBINS ELECTION COVERAGE
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