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U.S. Rep. Kuster pays late taxes for Hopkinton home, apologizes 'for any inconvenience’

Last modified: 2/6/2013 12:52:13 PM
For several years, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster has been late paying the property taxes on her Hopkinton home, according to town records.

Back taxes and interest totaling $7,168 on the Gould Hill Road home owned by Kuster and her husband, Brad, were paid yesterday, a day after WMUR-TV first reported she owed money.

“They are totally paid as of today,” said Chuck Gangel, Hopkinton’s town clerk and tax collector.

Kuster, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010 before winning the 2nd District seat in November against Republican incumbent Charlie Bass.

According to Hopkinton records, the taxes on the Kusters’ home have been paid late and with interest since at least 2011. Gangel declined to provide earlier records; WMUR reported the late payments began in 2010.

A tax bill due July 1, 2011, was paid in September of that year. A tax bill due Dec. 1, 2011, was paid in January 2012. Taxes due July 2 and Dec. 31 last year were paid last month and yesterday. Those four bills came to $27,737, including $769 in interest payments.

Kuster offered no explanation yesterday for why the payments were late. She issued a terse statement saying the bills were being paid.

“I regret the delay and apologize for any inconvenience. All future tax payments will be delivered promptly,” she said.

WMUR also reported Monday that Kuster didn’t pay two tax bills for 2012 on a property in the White Mountains town of Jackson, where she owed $3,852.

“Payment for our rental property in Jackson is en route,” Kuster said.

Annie Kuster was a lobbyist and attorney with Rath, Young and Pignitelli, and in 2011 she launched a consulting firm for nonprofit groups, Newfound Strategies. Brad Kuster also is a lawyer and formerly worked at the Conservation Law Foundation.

The Kusters’ Hopkinton home sits on 5.7 acres, and the property has a total assessed value of $483,900. The Jackson property is valued between $250,000 and $500,000, according to a financial disclosure form filed by Kuster last year.

Republicans blasted Kuster for the unpaid bills.

“This is disgusting,” said Nat Sillin, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement. “Millionaire Ann Kuster wants to raise taxes on Granite State families, but she doesn’t even pay her own. How can Kuster be trusted to make the rules if she won’t even follow them herself?”

The New Hampshire Republican Party said in a statement that Kuster “owes her constituents an honest explanation” about the unpaid taxes and “why she finally decided to pay her fair share of taxes only after the media started asking her questions about her long history of missed payments.”

The statement was issued in the name of party spokeswoman Meg Stone, not Chairwoman Jennifer Horn, who had a lien for unpaid federal taxes placed against her Nashua home in 2011. Horn said last month that she and her husband “have been working with the IRS to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”

David Hurst, chairman of the New Hampshire Young Republicans, called on Kuster to resign.

“Congresswoman Kuster needs to get her own family’s financial house in order before setting national financial policy,” Hurst said in a release.

Kuster’s spokesman, Rob Friedlander, declined to comment beyond Kuster’s four-sentence statement.

But Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, accused the GOP of hypocrisy.

“One would think that last thing Jennifer Horn’s employees would be doing is to bring up unpaid taxes,” Buckley said in a statement. “Unlike the case with Jennifer, the Kusters have sent full payment to both towns. How much does the newly installed Republican state chair still owe on her taxes?”

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)


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