VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - The Lowndes County Tax Commissioner is under investigation into allegedly waiving millions in penalties.
There is definitely a lot of back and forth with just how much was actually waived by Tax Commissioner Rodney Cain.
That exact amount won’t be determined until the CPA is done investigating. The investigation should wrap up by the end of the week.
“As far as waiving the penalties and interest, I have my documents right here to show how much I have waived. I have waived only $418,126.20. That’s all I have waived since I’ve been in office. And I’ve been in office for three years and right at five months,” said Cain.
Cain says the accusation of waiving three million was confusion between two different documents. He claims that figure is actually what the county has collected from penalties and interest. He tells us he requested the same documents as what the Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter requested from his office to make sure the numbers would match.
Slaughter says he specifically requested the proper document from a particular account that went from January 1st of 2017 to currently and a report from August 5, 2019, to the present day.
“I have not and will not state how much the number of forgiveness has been, what I’m trying to do is get the CPA or in that process a CPA to take a look at that number, a certified public accountant. So when I do have that number, I have a number that I have confidence in. I have no confidence in any numbers that have been quoted at this time. Because it’s been all the way across the board. Several different numbers have been put out there. I’m only interested in the numbers that a certified public account is going to produce for the Lowndes County Commission for us to take a look at,” said Slaughter.
In order to waive these fees, the tax commissioner must present a resolution to the county commission. Cain did not provide one and was working under the previous one from a tax commissioner from 1995.
Cain claims the document did not have an expiration date.
Slaughter says resolutions quote ‘do not live forever’. He says they only live into the next commissioner.
The previous tax commissioner, Mary Nell Robertson, tells us every year of her term, she would give a renewed resolution to waive penalties and fees.
“Each term that I was reelected, I just carried the resolution to the board of commission because, of course, there were new members on the board, explain the resolution again. Have that signed by the commissioners,” said Robertson.
When asked about how she handled “hardship cases and relieving penalties”, she tells us she would work to help people with payment plans but did not charge off those interest and penalties. She says she would document all her charge offs.
Cain claims he has waived a total of just over $17,000, him personally, but denies being unfair.
We will continue to follow this investigation and we will update you as soon as we hear back from the CPA firm handling those numbers.