Selectman files FOI complaint against tax office

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BEACON FALLS — Republican Selectman Michael Krenesky this month filed a Freedom of Information complaint against the tax office and tax collector claiming the office didn’t deliver information requested on back taxes owed by Selectman Peter Betkoski, his Democratic opponent in the November election.

“I know I’m going to get tagged for being political,” Krenesky said. “There’s no way around it, it’s the season. The timing is not very good to be putting this forward. But, to me, multiple questions have been asked and we’ve gotten no answers.”

Krenesky filed the complaint with the state Freedom of Information Commission on Oct. 1. The commission received and filed the complaint the following day.

In the complaint, Krenesky states that Tax Collector Mary Anne Holloway, a Democrat, failed to provide information he requested on payments made by Betkoski, a copy of any repayment agreement with the town, the original back taxes he owed and the current balance owed, and the town’s efforts to validate Betkoski filing Chapter 13.

Krenesky first asked for the information in a Sept. 2 email to Holloway in what he described as an “informal request.”

On Sept. 5, Holloway replied via email that she received the request and would notify Krenesky when the information is available to be picked up.

On Sept. 14, Krenesky filed an FOI request with Holloway because he hadn’t received the information yet.

On Oct. 2, the day the complaint was received and filed by the FOI Commission, Krenesky said he received a packet with information from Holloway but it didn’t include everything he asked for, including information on the current balance of taxes owed and a repayment plan.

Krenesky said he hasn’t contacted Holloway since filing the complaint because he’s waiting to hear from the FOI Commission on the next step.

As of Monday, the commission hadn’t taken any action on the complaint and it was still being reviewed, according to the commission.

The documents Krenesky received detailed information on a bankruptcy case filed by Betkoski in 2014, including the back taxes owed at the time — $11,958 — and how much he has paid back through the bankruptcy.

The documents showed that through April 17, 2017, Betkoski paid $6,798, including interest, to the town.

Holloway readily provided information to the Citizen’s News when asked in her office.

As of Oct. 12, Betkoski owed a total of $17,948 in back taxes, according to tax records. The taxes are owed on his business, Betkoski Brothers Excavating, and Betkoski is current on his personal taxes, Holloway said.

Betkoski refiled for Chapter 13 bankruptcy earlier this month after his previous case was dismissed in May when he couldn’t keep up with payments.

On Oct. 2, a judgment of foreclosure by sale was ordered for Betkoski’s property at 332 Bethany Road. Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays foreclosures and restructures debt.

Holloway said her office received notice this month that Betkoski has filed for bankruptcy again. Once this case is finalized, she said, payments on the back taxes will resume.

“What sets Peter Betkoski apart is he’s not running away from his bills,” Holloway said. “He’s going to pay every cent.”

Now, Betkoski said, his business is booming and he already has contracts for next season.

Betkoski referred questions on the bankruptcy filing to his attorney, Neil Crane. A message left with Crane’s office wasn’t returned.

“I take it to heart and it’s very important to me to pay the taxes I owe to the town of Beacon Falls, and, in due diligence, I will take care of it,” Betkoski said.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.