Clerk of court candidate has tax troubles Arthur Murphy says debt has no bearing on abilities

August 26, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

A candidate for clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court owes more than $30,000 in federal taxes and has been involved in state tax disputes, court records show.

The duties of clerk of the court include managing the office's $10.7 million budget.

Arthur W. Murphy, 48, blamed his financial troubles on an acrimonious divorce and a fight against multiple sclerosis that left him unemployable for two years.

Murphy said that he is working out the problems, and that they do not reflect on his ability to effectively manage the clerk's office.

"These are personal finances and have nothing to do with my business," said Murphy, a political consultant.

Records show he paid $8,660 in overdue state taxes July 1. The liens against him stem from taxes not paid from 1985 to 1994.

Outstanding is a $31,557 federal tax lien for unpaid taxes from 1988 to 1995. Murphy said federal tax agents audited him during his divorce. He disputed the amount of money federal agents say he owed and entered into a settlement. He said he paid the agreed-upon $6,000, but because he was late, the agents refiled the lien a year later.

Murphy said he is working with the Internal Revenue Service to reach another settlement. He said he owes about $7,000.

In a statement released last week, Murphy wrote that his tax problems began with a debt of $16,000. The amount has grown in large part because of penalties, he said.

"My only defense, if one is necessary, is that I did the best I could under the circumstances and I am proud I have done as much as I have done," Murphy wrote.

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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