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Mychajliw releases tax returns, Gaughan does same

Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw on Monday released his income tax returns dating to 2007, showing no record of liens or judgements for back taxes.

It’s all part of the Republican incumbent’s effort to make “openness, honesty and transparency a cornerstone of this office.”

But while he made no specific campaign demand, Mychajliw also said it would be up to Democratic opponent Kevin P. Gaughan to decide if he would take the same step.

Gaughan replied by pointing out he already released several years of tax returns during his unsuccessful campaign for the Assembly in 2012, acknowledging two personal judgements totaling over $1,100 cited last week by Mychajliw in a political exchange.

“After 20 years ... every Western New Yorker knows all about me, warts and all,” Gaughan said.

Mychajliw voluntarily released his personal income tax returns dating to 2007 when he left WGRZ/Channel 2, where he worked as a reporter.

The returns for last year showed Mychajliw reporting $94,660 in income as a partner in a public relations firm called Profit Media Group. He noted he took a significant cut in pay to serve in the comptroller’s post, which pays just over $79,000 annually.

“If you have nothing to hide, there is no reason not be an open book pertaining to the issue of taxes,” he said. “I think it’s important that people trust the person responsible for the collection and distribution of taxes.”

Gaughan again released his tax returns from 2007, showing income from his law practice ranging from $24,350 in 2007 (a year he said involved issues regarding the death of his mother), to $57,015 in 2008 to $52,030 in 2011.

Last week Gaughan criticized Mychajliw for taking contributions from a company recently convicted on pollution charges.

Mychajliw in turn claimed, and state Department of Taxation and Finance records confirm, that it issued two judgments against Gaughan totaling $1,171 in taxes in 2000 and 2009.

Gaughan said the 2000 judgment stemmed from a personal guarantee he made for expenses he incurred in convening a conference on waterfront development at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo in 1999.

“The sponsor was not able to honor it,” he explained, indicating he eventually paid the bill to personally satisfy the debt. An attorney for the Hyatt confirmed Gaughan’s story earlier this year.

Gaughan said the 2009 judgement of less than $300 stemmed from the failure of late notices regarding personal income taxes to arrive at his home after a change of address, which he said he immediately satisfied with the state.