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Stabosz Fires Back at Friedman on Billing Error

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz is questioning why La Porte County Attorney Shaw Friedman and not elected officials are responding to his office's mistake on the property tax billing.


“I would first like to know where Friedman gets off making ANY statement about these matters. Aren’t the County Commissioners the executive authority of La Porte County? Shouldn’t any comments about the error on the tax bill come from them?” he questioned.

Stabosz said the homestead supplemental deduction on this year’s property tax bill to homeowners reflects the same figure as last year, partly due to the inexperience of one of the workers in his office.


 The number should differ annually because of calculations based on changes in value. The new property tax bills with the corrected figure will be mailed out soon.


Friedman accused Stabosz of negligence for the tax bill issue and being late in making a county bond payment last year.  He said the county was trying to refinance a previous debt but the interest rate went up during a delay caused by the late bond payment.  The higher rate cancelled the refinancing which cost taxpayers $200,000, he said.


When county officials met to discuss what to do about the tax bill issue, Friedman says that Stabosz was attacking him and other elected officials on a 90 minute long Michigan City based radio show. 


Stabosz noted that the Tuesday morning radio show was scheduled weeks in advance, and the nature of the tax error wasn’t fully known until the morning of the show.  He also said it was an impromptu meeting that he and his chief deputy auditor were not notified of by Commission President Sheila Matias.


“If I had known about the full nature of the error on the tax bill prior to the time of the radio show starting, I may have very well bowed out of the show,” Stabosz said. “Here again, Friedman presents deliberate falsehoods in order to trick the public as to the nature of the situation."

Stabosz also said he attended a three-hour-long La Porte County Council meeting the night before the radio show and, for that reason, considered the time he spent at the radio studio his personal time, not work time. 

Stabosz blamed Friedman for the huge property tax mess over a decade ago, which took several years to resolve. He alleged Friedman appointed Carol McDaniel to run for County Assessor, and she was Assessor when the tax delays stemming from property owners challenging their assessments started.


Stabosz said he expects to be a target now for Friedman and his other political enemies.  


“I’m sure this unfortunate circumstance will be driven for all the political mileage Friedman can get out of it. I would like to simply remind the public of the difference between an honest error, versus someone who uses the county for his own personal and political gain and to fulfill his addiction to power,” Stabosz said.

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