WARRENSVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered more tax trouble for a local mayor now running for the top job in Cuyahoga County.
Back in 2018, we first exposed back taxes owed by Warrensville Heights Mayor Brad Sellers.
Now, we’ve learned of more back taxes just paid and a big break for him on his property taxes.
Records show, three years ago, Sellers paid more than $13,000 in back taxes the day we reported it.
Just days ago, those records show Sellers also paid more than $2,900 in back taxes. That payment came just before he announced his campaign to run for the office of Cuyahoga County Executive.
The county records also indicate Sellers didn’t make any county tax payments between those two. So, we asked why he had more than a three-year gap between paying taxes.
“The story is you need to go back to the beginning,” he said.
Sellers then launched into a complicated description of a long dispute he said he’s had with a bank and title company since he bought his home.
“The county’s not a player in that, right?” he said.
We reminded him the county collects the taxes.
“But the dispute is between myself and the bank,” Sellers answered.
The I-Team has also found Warrensville Heights has given the mayor tax abatement on his home, so he does not have to pay taxes on his house for 15 years. He only has to pay taxes on the land he owns there.
We noticed the mayor even signed the tax break given to himself as the city’s “Housing Officer.”
Sellers responded to a question about that by saying, “The document comes straight out of the law department. If they thought there was an issue, they would not have had me sign it.”
Meanwhile, Sellers now wants to give up running Warrensville Heights City Hall and step up to Cuyahoga County headquarters. He wants to become the top man there overseeing tax money for the entire county.
We also spoke to Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio, a government watchdog group.
“It’s absolutely important for all of us to make a good faith effort to pay our taxes,” she said. “We always want to give people a second chance, but when you see something happening again, it’s not an odd mistake.”
Sellers clearly was not too happy with the questions about his taxes, but he’s hoping you will buy his explanation.
“If you don’t know what to do, the system can abuse you, right? I just knew what to do,” he said.
Sellers also insists his latest payment of late taxes had nothing to do with his new campaign