Image: Certified copy of long standing, unpaid, State Tax Lien against Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley.
Coldsprings and Magnolia, September 17 – Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley’s longstanding Texas State Tax Lien, in place and unpaid since February 21, 2002, raises more salary conundrums for Riley and the citizens of Montgomery County. The tax lien, in the principal amount of $830.79, displays Riley’s anti-public outlook and the financial irresponsibility which he also displays in his failure to manage the multi-million budget and road bond projects of Commissioner’s Precinct 2.
Riley and his wife Deanne filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on February 2, 2002, to avoid paying all of their debt obligations. On June 27, 2002, United States Bankruptcy Judge Karen Brown of Houston granted the Rileys a discharge under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Discharges under the Bankruptcy Code do not discharge the obligation to pay taxes, pursuant to Section 523 of Title 11 of the United States Code. Therefore, Riley and his wife Deanne remain liable for payment of the Texas State Tax Lien which the Comptroller of Public Accounts filed in the Public Records of San Jacinto County, where the Rileys had conducted a failed business operation at the time.
The Texas Comptroller assessed the State Tax Lien against Riley personally for $772.94 for his failure to pay State Taxes, most likely sales taxes he had failed to remit from his failed business, even though he had collected those taxes from customers. Additionally, the Comptroller liened Riley for his failure to pay $57.85 in city, transit, and county taxes.
Riley and his wife Deanne Riley receive approximately $317,000 per year in salaries and benefits from Montgomery County taxpayers. Riley is the Precinct 2 County Commissioner while Deanne Riley works in the County job Riley created for her after incoming Sheriff Rand Henderson did not keep her on as a Sheriff’s Office employee in his new administration. The previous sheriff was Tommy Gage, Charlie Riley’s best friend, who hired Deanne Riley as his secretary at a salary of $68,000 per year plus lucrative County benefits.
Therefore, the Rileys’ failure to pay off the State Tax Lien obligation was volitional. Riley has displayed terrible antagonism towards citizens during Commissioners Court meetings. He has uttered profanities and used the Lord’s name in vain as though it were a profanity when citizens question official actions of the Commissioners Court. His failure to meet a tax obligation out of his massive annual salary further reveals his anti-public attitude.
A brief set of comparisons
One question that citizens must face is whether high elected official salaries attract higher quality individuals to the office. That’s a question the citizens should explore in depth. At this point, it’s appropriate to look at two comparisons.
The Second Continental Congress of the American colonies met at Philadelphia from 1775 to 1781. There were some pretty good people who served long hours and worked very hard at the business of the Congress. They lived temporarily far from their main homes and away from communication with their families and friends for long periods of time.
The Second Continental Congress included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, George Clinton (not of P-Funk fame), Samuel Chase, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Benjamin Rush, John Witherspoon, and Roger Sherman, among others.
Even without salaries or formal compensation, the Delegates to the Second Continental Congress were able to get the job done.
Even without payment of salaries, overtime, comp time, out-of-pocket expenses, or even benefit plans, the thousands of Montgomery County citizens who helped others after the Tropical Storm Harvey disaster were also able to get the job done.
Neither the Delegates to the Second Continental Congress nor the Harvey volunteers had to:
- Give their spouses or immediate family members lucrative jobs;
- Award giant contracts to political contributors;
- Take political contributions at all;
- Accept lavish fishing trips and other paid vacations from vendors to the Continental Congress or volunteer organizations.
Is it a miracle that those people could get the job done and do it so well?!