Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – At least two state Senate candidates – one Republican and one Democrat – failed to disclose tax liens in response to a Journal questionnaire.
In one case, Senate District 30 candidate Joshua Sanchez, a Republican from Bosque, failed to disclose a $51,655 tax lien that his business faced about five years ago.
The state Department of Taxation and Revenue filed the lien against Sanchez Demolition Inc, which Sanchez owns, seeking about $34,000 in unpaid taxes, in addition to penalties and interest, according to a notice filed with the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office.
The lien was satisfied last year.
Sanchez answered “no” on a Journal candidate questionnaire that asked whether he or any business he owns had ever faced a tax lien.
In an interview, Sanchez said it was an honest mistake – that he had misread the question as he filled out questionnaires from various organizations and thought he didn’t need to disclose a lien that had been paid off.
As a small-business owner, Sanchez said, he couldn’t afford to pay the full amount he owed all at once, so he went on a payment plan that included having to cover penalties and interest.
“This was cleared up,” he said of the lien.
Sanchez is running against Democrat Pam Cordova of Rio Communities for the Senate District 30 seat. The district covers part of central and western New Mexico, including Grants and Los Lunas.
Another candidate, Democrat Harold Pope Jr. of Albuquerque, also did not disclose a tax lien in response to the Journal questionnaire.
However, Pope Jr. said Monday a $2,394 tax lien filed against him in 2008 by the Franchise Tax Board of California was issued in error because he had been restationed to Florida by the Air Force.
“I wasn’t trying to keep this a secret or hide it – I never knew about it,” said Pope Jr., who is making his first bid for elected office.
He also provided the Journal records that show the lien was eventually released without payment.
Several other tax liens under Pope Jr.’s name were actually filed against his father – who shares the same name – and not against him.
Pope Jr. is running against three-term incumbent Sen. Sander Rue, a Republican, in Senate District 23, which encompasses much of Albuquerque’s West Side.
A number of other legislative candidates did disclose tax liens in response to the Journal questionnaire, which are posted at abqjournal.com/election2020.