Lawmaker facing lien filed by IRS

Lawmaker facing lien filed by IRS

December 17th, 2010 by Andy Johns in News

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves.

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves.

The IRS has filed a lien against freshman Rep. Tom Graves for unpaid taxes on a motel in Gordon County, adding a new chapter to the legal battle that will send the Republican lawmaker before a judge in January.

The lien, filed Dec. 13 in Gordon County Court, states that Graves and his company, Tich Properties, owe $1,498 in unpaid taxes for 2007.

Graves, from Ranger in Gordon County, was sued in January by Bartow County Bank. The suit alleges that a motel business under the name of Tich Properties or Tich Hospitalities, run by Graves and state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, defaulted on a $2.25 million loan.

The suit also alleges that Graves moved some of his property to his wife's name to make it more difficult for the bank to collect.

Attorneys wrapped up depositions last week and the parties are expected to meet with a judge for summary judgment in three or four weeks, according to Edward Hine, who represents Bartow County Bank in the case.

Graves and Rogers were scheduled to give a deposition in June, then August, then September before each meeting was rescheduled.

Hine said the last deposition was finished on Dec. 6. A deposition is sworn, recorded testimony that is used during the fact-finding portion of a case.

In an interview Monday, Graves said the suit was a "private legal matter" and declined to comment. Attempts to reach his Atlanta-based attorney Simon Bloom were unsuccessful this week, and messages were not returned.

A counterclaim filed by Graves and Rogers in March states that the bank had allowed their company to refinance the loan in November 2009. They say the bank then reneged on the agreement.

Graves won a special election runoff in June to fill former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal's unexpired term and then won a full term uncontested in November. His critics accused him of postponing the court proceedings until after the elections to avoid negative press during the campaigns.

Before the depositions in June and August, attorneys filed notice that the meetings were to take place. After media coverage based on the filings, no documents were filed before the subsequent dates.

Tara Zapp, chief deputy clerk for Gordon County, said attorneys don't have to file notices listing the dates for depositions.

Contact staff writer Andy Johns at ajohns@timesfree or call 423-757-6324.