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Peck’s case with state taxes is ongoing

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GOUVERNEUR — St. Lawrence County Legislator Donald A. Peck’s troubles with the state Department of Taxation and Finance are not over.

Last summer, the state seized Mr. Peck’s bank accounts for nonpayment of sales tax from the early 1990s. At the time, Mr. Peck said interest and penalties inflated the amount owed to more than $500,000.

Since then, Mr. Peck, an auctioneer and variety store owner, said the state has asked him to fill out reports based on his business records from 1991.

“I can’t do it because I don’t have the records,” Mr. Peck said. “That’s 19 years ago.”

The state has an outstanding warrant for Peck’s Auction Barn for $50,381 related to owed sales tax payments due for the period of March 1992 to February 1993. A second warrant is for sales tax from December 1990 to February 1993 in the amount of $86,791. A third warrant is for personal income tax in the amount of $1,483 for the tax year 2011, according to Cary B. Ziter, a spokesman for the Tax Department.

Laws related to the privacy of tax filings prevent the disclosure of more information, Mr. Ziter said.

The warrants remain open for 20 years.

The personal income tax issue has been resolved, Mr. Peck said. As for the rest, he said he cannot re-create records he does not have.

Mr. Peck filed for bankruptcy in 1994 after Jefferson National Bank failed and he was unable to find another lending institution that would carry the $566,000 he had in outstanding loans. Mr. Peck had worked out a five-year repayment plan with the bank, which itself became overextended. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which seized the bank’s assets when it closed in 1993, called in his loans.

Any sales tax Mr. Peck’s business owed would not be discharged by bankruptcy.

Later, he formed a separate corporation, Auctions Plus. Mr. Peck, who recently was elected vice chairman of the Board of Legislators, now runs his auction business under Don Peck Auctions.

“I’m waiting to see what happens,” Mr. Peck said.

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