Senate candidate Brock releases '93 returns showing he paid nearly $1.2 million in taxes

May 15, 1994|By John B. O'Donnell | John B. O'Donnell,Sun Staff Writer

Seeking to prevent his taxes and wealth from becoming a campaign issue, Maryland Republican Senate candidate William E. Brock made public yesterday income tax returns that showed he paid nearly $1.2 million last year on taxable income of $2.92 million.

Most of Mr. Brock's income came from the sale of stock in the Brock Candy Co. of Tennessee, which his grandfather founded. He reported net income of $2.8 million on transactions in securities and more than $500,000 in wages, salary and fees, most of that income from The Brock Group, a Washington consulting firm that he left at the end of the year.

Mr. Brock also released a financial disclosure statement that showed he has assets of $3.6 million to $7.2 million or more, with stock in the candy company being his major reportable asset. He reported liabilities of between $550,000 and $1.1 million.

All senators and Senate candidates must file the annual forms by today. The forms provide an incomplete picture of net worth. Not all assets and liabilities have to be reported, and those that must be reported are valued in ranges -- for example, $50,001 to $100,000. The highest category is "over $1,000,000." Mr. Brock's sole asset in that category is stock in the candy company.

Some assets, for example, residences and those that are not held for production of income or are not publicly traded, do not have to be reported.

Mr. Brock became the second GOP candidate for the seat held by Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes to release his income tax returns.

Last month, State Del. C. Ronald Franks of Grasonville released his, and Ruthann Aron of Potomac, a millionaire member of the Montgomery County Planning Board, said yesterday that she will release her returns in "a matter of weeks." Ross Z. Pierpont, a retired Baltimore surgeon and millionaire, has declined to do so.

Mr. Brock's personal finances became an issue in his 1976 bid for re-election to the Senate, which he lost to Sen. Jim Sasser, who is now running for his fourth term. Amid allegations that he had paid little in income taxes and had sought to hide ownership in some assets, Mr. Brock acknowledged late in the campaign that he had paid just more than $2,026 in federal taxes on gross income of nearly $52,000. He said recently that his taxes were low because of a "sizable loss on a real estate investment."

Last month, Mr. Brock acknowledged that he was releasing his returns early in this campaign to avoid similar controversy.

Yesterday, Erin O'Brien, his press secretary, said, "No one wants a repeat of 1976." In today's political climate, "If you don't divulge all, you are immediately assumed to be guilty," she said.

Mr. Brock could not be reached yesterday and did not respond to several messages. Ms. O'Brien said he was traveling to Tennessee for the christening of a grandchild.

The returns that Mr. Brock released yesterday cover the four years in which he has paid Maryland income taxes. In December, as he was preparing for the campaign, Mr. Brock said he had lived in Annapolis since 1985. Later, he said the "transition" to Annapolis began in 1986 and was completed in 1990, the first year he paid income taxes in the state.

Mr. Brock has owned houses in Annapolis since 1986. He registered to vote there in 1988, but did not obtain a Maryland driver's license until December 1991, when he turned in a District of Columbia license.

His returns showed that in 1990, he and his wife paid $322,958 in federal and state taxes on gross income of $1,188,062. In 1991, he paid $253,015 on income of $837,591, and in 1992, he paid $239,179 on income of $720,168.

The 1993 return showed that he paid $881,822 in federal tax and $285,350 in state and local taxes, for a total of $1,167,172. According to the return, he had a net profit of $2,835,710 on sales of stocks and bonds. His largest deals involved two transactions last spring in which he sold 229,412 shares of Brock Candy Co. stock for $2,984,035. Ms. O'Brien said he was required to sell some of his holdings when the family-owned business went public. Mr. Brock still retains about 5 percent of the firm's stock, Ms. O'Brien said.

Mr. and Mrs. Brock took deductions of $603,262 last year. They included $339,184 in state and local taxes, $49,081 in mortgage interest and $317,501 in charitable contributions.

His largest donations were $214,802 in candy company stock to Washington & Lee University, his alma mater, and $61,235 in candy company stock to St. John's College of Annapolis.

Mr. Brock's tax return and financial disclosure statement showed that he received $497,400 from The Brock Group, his Washington consulting firm; $30,000 in speaking fees; and $16,500 from Vinta Mineral & Financial Inc. of Alexandria, a "mineral processing" firm where he has been a director since 1989. He owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in that firm.

On his financial disclosure form, Mr. Brock listed a wide range of holdings, mostly stocks and bonds valued at less than $15,000 each. After his Brock Candy Co. stock, his largest asset is a "charitable remainder unitrust" in the name of Washington & Lee, valued at $500,000 to $1 million.

He listed two assets valued at $250,000 to $500,000, a loan to his campaign and Montgomery County bonds. And, he listed several assets of $100,000 to $250,000, including land in Montana; his interest in The Brock Group, which he is selling to his former partners; a real estate partnership in Chattanooga, Tenn.; and a Georgia firm, Nuclear Care Inc., which sells medical diagnostic equipment sales.

He listed two liabilities, a personal guarantee on the lease of business office space, valued at $500,000 to $1 million, and a partnership mortgage on a Chattanooga building, valued at $50,000 to $100,000.

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