Our Pledge To You

Columnists

Why was Lightfoot hit with liens for unpaid taxes? We need a better explanation

Lori Lightfoot, former president of the Chicago Police Board in the Sun-Times newsroom May 8, 2018. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Lori Lightfoot. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Lien and learn . . . 

Mayoral hopeful Lori Lightfoot, who could be responsible for the city budget’s billions, has had two tax liens filed against her in two different states.

It raises a few questions.

One was in California and the other in Illinois.

One is for $1,288, while the other amounts to $1,324.

It may sound petty to some, but not to others.

Her critics may wonder how does someone of her means not pay her taxes? Or how can we expect her to handle a budget of billions of dollars — not only when she has no experience doing so — but has also had tax liens — albeit small ones — placed against her for her own personal taxes?

If she can’t stay on top of a relatively small amount of money, how will she handle the city budget?

Here is the response from Lightfoot’s campaign spokesman, Nadia Perl:

“Both debts have been repaid. Several years ago, Lightfoot contested the amount owed to the California Franchise Tax Board, so the payment was delayed.

“The lien resulted from the delay. The two sides agreed to a resolution and Lightfoot paid what she owed.”

As for the more recent lien, Perl said:

“The 2014 Illinois Department of Employment Security lien resulted from additional taxes owed while employing a babysitter. Lightfoot paid what she owed. Neither lien impacts Lightfoot’s professional licensing.”

Perl did not respond to followup questions seeking more details on how both debts got to the point that liens were filed.

I don’t doubt that she paid the debts eventually. But the whole reason tax liens are filed in the first place is that her taxes weren’t paid in a timely fashion.

Lightfoot owes the public a fuller explanation.