Deadbeat School Board Candidate owes Banning Taxpayers over $ 80k
Deadbeat School Board Candidate owes Banning Taxpayers over $ 80k
10/4/13 – Should you run for public office if you personally owed the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars ? With the School Board elections approaching, one School Board candidate apparently seems to think so : incumbent candidate James C. “Jim” Smith is asking for your vote, while at the same time he owes the City of Banning over $ 80,000. In addition, several other creditors are standing in line to get paid as well .
A few month ago, Smith was appointed to the BUSD School Board due to a vacancy and is now running for election. The voters will have to decide if Jim Smith is the right candidate to guide a financially fragile school District into prosperity.
Unfortunately, Jim Smith’s record is anything but impressive.
CITY OF BANNING’S JUDGMENT AGAINST JIM SMITH
The City of Banning holds a judgment against Jim Smith in the amount of $ 80,747.80. (amount as of July 2013 – see City Manager email and Abstract of Judgment ).
The judgment is the result of a lawsuit that Smith brought against the City a few years ago, which claimed that former Council member Barbara Hanna acted inappropriately when she denied Smith the opportunity to present a business proposal to the City, accusing him of extortion.
Smith lost the case and was ordered to pay the City’s attorney’s fees, resulting in the above judgment.
But for over 2 years now, Banning City manager Takata has made no collection efforts against Jim Smith, even though public record shows that Smith continues to earn a verifiable income. The lack of collection, however, should come as no surprise, as the cordial tone of Takata’s email to Smith (view) suggests a rather cozy relationship between the two.
Takata is a member of the Banning Chamber of Commerce, and so is Jim Smith, who once even acted as its president. During election times, when City Council candidates participate in a televised public forum, it is Jim Smith who asks the candidates questions.
Other good-old-boys linked to Jim Smith are Council member Bob Botts, as well as former Mayor Don Robinson and City Council member Art Welch, the latter both being Banning Chamber executives.
Smith serves as living proof that members of Banning’s good-old boys network are well protected – every step of the way.
JUDGMENT AGAINST JIM SMITH AUTOMOTIVE ENTERPRISES
Jim Smith is a former used car dealer who operated a corporation by the name of “Jim Smith Automotive Enterprises, Inc.”, once located on Ramsey Street in Banning. The corporation has since been suspended by the California Secretary of State.
According to public records, “Jim Smith Automotive Enterprises, Inc.” has an outstanding judgment entered against it in the amount of $ 74,434.37. This judgment also extends to Jim Smith personally (see Abstract of Judgment)
Since this judgment was entered into in May of 2010, it should have accumulated to well over $ 90,000 by now.
IRS TAX LIEN
Public record shows that the IRS is also looking to get paid by Jim Smith. In November of 2011, they filed a “Federal Tax Lien” in the amount of $ 15,989,18 against him (view document).
Almost 2 years have passed since the filing, which means that with accrued interest and penalties, the amount owed by Smith to the IRS should be approaching $ 20,000 by now.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA TAX LIEN
Public record shows that as of April 9, 2009, the California Franchise Tax Board also has filed a lien against Jim Smith for back taxes in the amount of $ 3,050.39 (view document). Today, over 4 years later, the unpaid amount should be approaching $ 5,000.
SMITH ACCUSED OF TAKING $ 15,000 FROM CAROL’S KITCHEN
Until a couple of years ago, Jim Smith was a Board member of Carol’s Kitchen, a 501,c,3 charitable organization. A few weeks ago, after learning that Jim Smith used Carol’s Kitchen as a reference, the organization issued a public statement printed in the Record Gazette (view). The statement accused Smith – a car dealer – of promising to purchase a van for the organization and receiving $ 15,000 for this purpose. The organization says Smith took the money, but they never received their van.
Carol’s Kitchen’s Statement is supported by their 2011 tax return, which shows a loan to Jim Smith for a vehicle purchase, with an outstanding amount of then $ 12,150 (view pg.8).
Jim Smith disputes Carol’s Kitchen’s account, saying he repaid $ 3,000 and now owes nothing (view his full response). Controversial Banning Police Chief Leonard Purvis has claimed that he had a “conflict of interest” investigating any allegations made by Carol’s Kitchen, because of its executives direct support for Purvis’ BPAL organization (Banning Police Activities League).
In this context is is also interesting to note that Jim Smith’s son, Brandon Smith, is an officer with the Banning Police Department. Not surprisingly, no charges were ever filed against Smith, nor anyone allegedly involved in the 2011 Carol’s Kitchen scandal (see details).
SALARY FROM “TABLE OF PLENTY” CHARITY
Another local charity with focus on feeding the hungry is “Table of Plenty”. Once again, Jim Smith received money from the organization, this time in form of a salary as “Community Relations Director”. Smith has stated that the organization pays him anywhere between $ 1,000 and $10,000 per year (see filing).
The bottom line : if you want to feed the hungry in the Pass Area, chances are your money may end up in the pockets of deadbeat James C. Smith, one way or another.
PRESS ENTERPRISE LEAVES READERS IN THE DARK
If you believe that the Press Enterprise has done a good job reporting on Jim Smith’ background, you are sadly mistaken.
Back in June of this year, PE reporter Gail Wesson wrote about Smith’s appointment to the School Board, portraying him as a non-controversial “retired auto dealer manager”.
Apparently Wesson did not bother checking into Smith’ background : her article makes no mention of the monetary judgments and liens against Smith, the allegations of Carol’s Kitchen nor that Smith owes over $ 80K to the Banning taxpayers. (view PE article). PE readers were left completely in the dark about Jim Smith. Can you think of a more dismal performance by a major newspaper ?
It is only because of the lack of due diligence by media outlets like the Press Enterprise, that a complete deadbeat candidate like Jim Smith can feel confident of having a reasonable chance of getting elected to public office.
With almost $ 200,000 in judgments and liens piling up against candidate Smith, voters should use extreme CAUTION: You are ENTERING THE DEADBEAT ZONE ! Vote accordingly.
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