NOVEMBER 03, 2009
A prominent big-city mayor who served nearly three decades in the U.S. House and headed its powerful Armed Services Committee owes nearly a quarter of a million dollars in back income taxes even though his annual salary and congressional pension amount to almost $300,000.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums failed to pay income taxes for at least three years and owes Uncle Sam $239,000, according to a local news report that reminds the flashy veteran politician that being a tax delinquent violates his civic duty as both a public official and a citizen.
It’s not like Dellums doesn’t make a decent living. His annual salary for being mayor of California’s eighth-largest city is $184,000 and his congressional pension is more than $100,000 a year. After leaving congress Dellums opened a Washington D.C. lobbying firm that made big bucks though the money stopped flowing when he left the business to run for office in his native Oakland.
He still makes more than most Americans but he also spends extravagantly, often with a city credit card. It turns out the mayor has expensive taste and he’s been in trouble for using taxpayer dollars to pick up some hefty questionable tabs. Dellums only wears fancy tailored suits, stays at the most lavish resorts, dines only at the finest restaurants and often gets around in a chauffeured limousine.
An investigation last year determined that Dellums has a pattern of exorbitant spending at taxpayer expense and that he also cheated the public by working significantly less than eight hours at least a full third of all the days he supposedly worked. The probe was revealed at a time when the mayor suggested shutting down City Hall and raising taxes to help offset a financial crisis.
While Oakland faced a $14.5 million deficit, its tax-cheating mayor was dining at upscale eateries, staying at five-star hotels during numerous jaunts away from the city and buying hundreds of dollars worth of flowers. Taxpayers in the notoriously crime-infested San Francisco Bay city picked up the rather excessive tab.
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