WEST NEW YORK – Recently hired Assistant Town Attorney Mario Blanch owes nearly $200,000 in unpaid federal and state taxes, according to documents provided by Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-West New York), who called for Blanch to step down from his position.
“This man Blanch is a serial tax evader. He has no business representing taxpayers and serving in such a sensitive legal position,” said Jimenez in a press release that accompanied the documents. “He was just hit with another big tax lien last month and he is sinking in a sea of debt.”
Blanch has drawn the political ire in the neighboring town of North Bergen after consistently criticizing Mayor and State Sen. Nicholas Sacco at town meetings on behalf of a group called the North Bergen Concerned Citizens. Blanch lives in North Bergen and has a law office in West New York.
The tax records show that Blanch owes $89,093.25 from 2006 and $43,941.50 from 2007 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Additionally, he owes the state of New Jersey $65,217.19.
Blanch, who was reached by telephone early Wednesday morning, said that Jimenez’s figures are wrong.
“The number’s wrong, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ll be meeting with my accountant and preparing a statement,” he said.
Blanch said that the debts owed from 2006 and 2007 were the result of the economy tanking in 2008, but that he is currently enrolled in a federal monthly payment plan. He also said that the 2012 debts were a result of a recent divorce.
Mayor Felix Roque said he was unaware of Blanch’s tax issues until he saw the assemblywoman’s statement yesterday.
“Criminal background checks are a standard aspect of the town’s hiring process, but tax issues aren’t something that would have come up,” he said. “This is personal information, it has no affect on his performance as assistant town attorney.”
Roque also stated he was confused as to Jimenez’s motivations.
“I’m surprised that Jimenez would bring this to the media,” he said. “It leads me to believe that this is more politically motivated on her part, I wonder who is pulling her strings.”
Roque said that he had no plans to remove Blanch from his position.
Look for a full story in this weekend’s editions of the Reporter, available on your doorstep or here at hudsonreporter.com starting Sunday. – Dean DeChiaro