As vote-by-mail ballots start hitting mailboxes and with less than a month before voters go to the polls to fill out their ballots to decide who will represent Turlock and the rest of California’s 10th Congressional District in Washington, Michael Eggman’s (D) tax record has come into question.
Eggman is a farmer and beekeeper who co-operated a Turlock farm with his father for more than a decade before his father passed away in 2013.
Questions about Eggman’s taxes arose when public documents from the Stanislaus County Assessor were revealed and showed that the business operating on the Eggman property, on the 3500 block of W. Tuolumne Road in Turlock, only had records beginning in 2012.
Eggman did not deny the tax records from 2012, saying that there had been a discrepancy on the value of some equipment and he had paid the taxes without question.
“As for the tax issue with equipment, there was a discrepancy on the value of old used equipment that the county had asked the farm to pay taxes on,” said Eggman spokesperson Eric Goldman. “They didn't fight it and paid the taxes. Pretty basic stuff for a small business or local family farm.”
According to Stanislaus County Assessor records, the parcel of land, which includes a residence and remains under the name of Eggman’s father, is a 19.78-acre property and dates back to Sept. 9, 2004.
Eggman is the sole proprietor and has been since his father passed in October of last year, according to Goldman. He added that Eggman is a one-third partner with his sisters and receives 75 percent of the revenue as sole proprietor.
“Michael is now the sole proprietor and has been since October 2013, which would be why he wouldn't have paid property taxes on the farm before this year,” said Goldman.
Although Eggman is reportedly the sole proprietor and one-third partner of his father’s property, he did not list the property as an asset on his U.S. House of Representatives Financial Disclosure Statement.
His sister, Susan Eggman, who represents State Assembly 12th District, claims the property on her Fair Political Practices Commission 700 Form and values the almond farm at more than $1 million.
There is, however, a second Assessor document dated back to March 28, 2012. According to the Stanislaus County Assessor’s office, this second document, which is in Eggman’s name, is for a business operating on the same 19.78-acre property.
The Assessor’s office was unable to say how the county found out about the discrepancy or provide any information on taxes prior to 2012, as it is not public information.
Along with the tax questions, others have asked whether or not Eggman’s business is licensed with the Stanislaus County.
The Stanislaus County Tax Collector was unable to find a business license for a business operating at the address of Eggman’s property.
“Michael's farm isn't incorporated and he files his taxes under his Social Security number like his neighbors and the vast majority of Central Valley farmers,” said Goldman in response to questions about Eggman’s business license.
Despite the response, Eggman’s business would still need to be licensed in Stanislaus County to legally operate.
This is not the first time Eggman has been under fire during the campaign. In April, he confirmed that at the time he was not registered to vote in the 10th District.
At the time, Eggman said he was registered to vote in Fresno, where he owns additional property. He said he splits time between his operations in Turlock and Fresno.