Georgia governor Sonny Purdue was the subject of an intense IRS probe into a Florida land deal his family went into. This was revealed by Larry O’Neal, his former lawyer who at the same time was serving as a Georgia state rep.
In 2004, Purdue sold property in Georgia and used the proceeds to purchase some property in Florida near Disney World. This would have attracted state Capital Gains Tax if not for a legislation passed by the House in Georgia the following year.
In 2005, O’Neal sponsored a bill, part of which provided a tax deferral on profits made from land sales in Georgia if these profits were to be used to purchase property in another state. This bill was made retroactive to 2004. O’Neal sponsored the bill and Purdue signed it into law although the governor insists that he did not realize he would personally benefit from the bill when he signed it. As a result, the retroactive bill saved Purdue some $100,000 in taxes.
Allegations of unethical behavior and actions have dogged Purdue during his 2006 election.
In 2007, this incident became the subject of an ethics complaint against O’Neal. This complaint was subsequently dismissed and O’Neal no longer works as Purdue’s lawyer.
Following the 2006 gubernatorial election, the IRS launched an extensive investigation into Purdue’s tax break. In an email sent by Larry O’Neal to the House Republican caucus, O’Neal reveals that after stringent examination by the IRS, they have exonerated him from all wrongdoing. Furthermore, governor Purdue was also not compelled to pay any additional taxes on the sale of his Georgia property.
IRS spokesman Mark Green declined to comment on the investigation and also did not confirm whether the probe was completed or not. All attempts to communicate with O’Neal over the matter have not been fruitful.
State rep Larry O’Neal himself is one of the leading candidates for House Speaker following the resignation of Glenn Richardson whose ex-wife has accused him of having an affair with a lobbyist. Richardson also attempted suicide following his resignation which will be effective Jan 1st.
This matter with Purdue has become an issue in O’Neal’s own aspirations to become Speaker. But O’Neal has said that Purdue has given him permission to speak about it now although due to legal ethics he was prevented from doing so earlier.
The House Republican caucus is set to vote on Thursday to nominate someone to replace Glenn Richardson as Speaker.
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Law Offices of Darrin T. Mish, P.A.: Tax Attorney