BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Three East Baton Rouge parish residents filed suit Friday, seeking to block Councilwoman Tara Wicker from running for EBR Mayor-President in November.
The lawsuit claims Wicker has not filed Louisiana state income taxes for 2016 or 2018 and has not filed for a tax extension for either year.
However, Wicker was quick to provide paperwork that she says proves the allegations are false. She provided WAFB-TV with a signed letter from her accountant saying he filed taxes for Wicker and her husband for each of the past five years.
One of the people who filed the lawsuit, Sonny Cranch, once worked with the failed campaign to elect Darryl
Gissel for EBR Mayor-President in 2016. Gissel now serves as Mayor Sharon-Weston Broome’s Chief Administrative Officer.
Candidates running for mayor are required to acknowledge they have filed proper tax returns or extensions for the previous five years.
When qualifying for the race, Wicker certified that she was either current on her taxes or had filed for proper extensions.
But, the plaintiffs claim there was no proof of that happening for the two years in question.The plaintiffs say they filed a public records request with the Louisiana Department of Revenue for information about Wicker’s taxes. They included that agency’s response in their petition that seeks to have Wicker disqualified.
The agency said it “cannot confirm” filing for tax years 2016 and 2018, according to records included as exhibits in the lawsuit.
In an unrelated filing of required paperwork with the Louisiana Board of Ethics, Wicker noted she had filed for an extension for some years of her tax returns, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs say they asked the Louisiana Department of Revenue to confirm if that agency had a tax extension request for 2016 from Wicker. They say the agency simply replied back saying “the Department cannot confirm tax filing for tax year 2016.”
Richard J. Brazan and Glenn Ducote are also named as plaintiffs in the suit. A court date for the matter was held on August 4.
The Wicker campaign says it will arrive in court armed with the actual tax returns in question, in hopes of quickly having the matter put behind them.
Mayor Sharon-Weston Broome’s campaign issued a statement saying it had nothing to do with the lawsuit against Wicker.
”Our campaign first learned about this lawsuit from the media,” the statement said. “The Mayor and her team had no knowledge of the lawsuit or the filing. Mayor Broome is proud of the record she’s built for Baton Rouge in her first term, and she is focused on sharing her vision for a second term amid this terrible pandemic.”
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