District judge candidate acknowledges 2018 tax lien - Albuquerque Journal

District judge candidate acknowledges 2018 tax lien

Jennifer J. Wernersbach

An Albuquerque district judge running in a Democratic primary acknowledged she had been subjected to a state tax lien after indicating otherwise on a Journal questionnaire.

Judge Jennifer Wernersbach said Monday that she didn’t recall receiving the lien demanding payment of $1,240 for unpaid taxes from the 2016 filing period.

Wernersbach faces challenger Emeterio Rudolfo for the 2nd Judicial District Court Division 16 post in the June 7 Democratic primary.

In a questionnaire, the Journal asks all candidates for elected office, “Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?” Wernersbach answered “No.” However, she acknowledged that she had been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding.

Rudolfo’s campaign manager, Victor Lopez, sent the Journal a notice of a 2018 tax lien addressed to Wernersbach and her husband, Matthew Huggins.

The notice, dated Nov. 11, 2018, said the couple owed $985 for the 2016 personal income tax filing period, plus a penalty and interest totalling $1,240.63.

Online records show the lien was released in April 2020.

Wernersbach said Monday she did not remember receiving the lien but didn’t deny its authenticity.

“I honestly don’t remember that particular document by any means,” Wernersbach said in a phone interview.

“It is coming as a complete surprise to me,” she said. “I know I owed some taxes at some point, but I don’t ever remember having a lien.”

Wernersbach said she had been unable to reach her certified public accountant on Monday to ask about the lien.

Rudolfo acknowledged in his own Journal questionnaire that, “I had tax liens many years ago. They have been resolved.”

Rudolfo said on Monday that he found Wernersbach’s response “hard to believe” given that she satisfied the lien less than two years ago.

“Anyone who has had a tax lien does not forget,” Rudolfo said in an email. “This is about character, transparency in government, and rebuilding people’s faith in the judiciary.”

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