NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans businessman who hasn't paid property taxes in 30 years has resigned from the Louisiana Tax Commission. That move follows a FOX 8 investigation that uncovered the taxman's own tax debt.
Jimmie Thorns' business, Jim Thorns Inc, owns a property on North Claiborne Avenue and, since acquiring it in the 1980's, hasn't paid a penny in property taxes. The current outstanding bill is $140,000.
Go. John Bel Edwards appointed Thorns to the Louisiana Tax Commission, which ensures fair, accurate and uniform property taxation. Essentially it has the final say on how much you pay in property taxes.
"Why should he be on this committee?" asked Tulane law professor Joel Friedman in a recent interview. "I mean, is it unlawful for him to be on the commission? No. But is it good government for the governor to choose someone like this?
The Edwards administration sent this statement to FOX 8 Thursday afternoon:
"To have paid no taxes on a small piece of property - where the tax is not that large, but has now a huge bill… It can't be unintentional," Friedman said. "One year could be a mistake; 30 years is a concerted decision not to pay real estate taxes."
After seeing Wednesday night's report, the governor says, he asked Thorns to resign. Thorns submitted his resignation late Thursday afternoon, ending a nine-month run on one of the state's most powerful and important boards.