Memphis City Council candidate addresses unpaid property taxes

Memphis City Council candidate addresses unpaid property taxes

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(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

Shelby County Trustee records show that Memphis City Council, District 4 candidate Jamita Swearengen is behind on property taxes on five Memphis properties.

The properties include three plots located at 2005 Quinn Avenue, and two plots at 1631 Sunset Street totaling $4,340.77.

The unpaid taxes date back to 2013 and are now due July 31st.

The withdrawal deadline for all Memphis municipal candidates was noon Thursday, and Shelby County Election Administrator Rich Holden said the commission decided whether to validate the candidates during their 4 p.m. meeting.

Swearengen tells WMC Action News 5 that taxes on all of her properties were paid two hours after our report first hit the web.

Later in the day, the Election Commission certified Swearengen for the race.

She says she had every intention of being up to date on her taxes.

The trustee’s website now shows all of her property tax balances at zero.

While the charter disqualifies candidates with unpaid taxes, Holden says it is not the commission’s responsibility to investigate such claims.

Swearengen’s aunt, Barbara Swearengen Holt-Ware, won elections in the past despite her unpaid taxes.

Back then, the Election Commission said they would need an opinion from the Memphis city attorney on how to handle the situation. 

At the time, the city attorney said he was unsure if the disqualification would hold up, since the clause in the charter that addresses late taxes is an "editors note," and not a code.

Swearengen Holt-Ware resigned from her District 7 seat in 2011 amid allegations she renewed her car registration without getting vehicle inspections that were required at the time.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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