A Crawford County commissioner candidate owes more than $24,000 in back federal income taxes while a candidate for Titusville City Council owes more than $30,000 on a federally backed small business loan, according to a Meadville Tribune review of public records of major candidates on the November ballot.

Also, the same commissioner candidate and one of the sheriff candidates each recently resolved state personal income tax liens filed against them by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Those two candidates each provided the Tribune with accurate documentation of full payment of those state personal income tax liens.

Satisfaction statements for those state personal income tax liens had not been filed with the Crawford County Prothonotary's Office by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue as of Tuesday.

Jeffrey Johnson, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, said it may take up to 45 days for a lien satisfaction to be filed once final payment has been processed.

A lien is a legal claim filed against an individual or property for an unpaid debt. The Prothonotary's Office is the clerk for civil court matters for the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas.

The candidates are Dan Hunter, a Democratic nominee for commissioner; Neil Fratus, the Democratic nominee for sheriff; and Roger L. Gordon, who earned both Republican and Democratic nominations for a seat on Titusville City Council.

Hunter of Meadville owes a total of $24,172.08 in back income taxes, interest and penalties for the years 2014 through 2017.

"I made a deal with the IRS — I made a deal couple of months ago," Hunter said. "The (federal) case is closed, but it can be revisited in a couple of years because I'm not making that much money."

Hunter provided the Tribune with the copy of a letter from the IRS' Small Business/Self-Employed Division dated April 29, 2019.

The letter states the IRS had determined Hunter doesn't have the ability to pay the money owed as of the date of the letter.

"Although we have temporarily closed your case, you still owe the money to the IRS," the letter states. "We may reopen your case in the future if your financial situation improves."

The letter also states that because money still is owed, penalties and interest will continue to be added to the delinquent account.

The IRS filed the federal tax lien against Hunter on Oct. 2, 2018. The lien breaks down as $9,734.64 owed for 2014; $120.67 owed for 2015; $4,830.31 owed for 2016; and $9,486.46 owed for 2017.

Hunter settled personal income tax liens with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue on Sept. 5, 2019, according to receipts and other documentation he provided to the Tribune.

On Oct. 16, 2018, the state Department of Revenue filed a lien for $1,620.33 for state delinquent personal income tax, interest, penalties and fees owed for 2016.

On Aug. 8 of this year, the state Department of Revenue filed a lien for $2,133.70 for state personal income tax, interest, penalties and fees owed for 2017.

Fratus has settled a personal income tax lien from the state Department of Revenue for $1,152.62 for delinquent personal income tax, interest, penalties and fees owed for 2017.

The state Department of Revenue filed a lien June 24 of this year.

Fratus told the Tribune he paid the lien June 27.

"It was 100 percent paid the day I got in the mail," Fratus said.

Fratus said he wasn't made aware a satisfaction fee was needed until August when questioned why the lien wasn't satisfied.

A satisfaction fee was processed Aug. 27, according to receipts provided to the Tribune by Fratus and Brian Cagle, Fratus' campaign manager.

"They have been fighting the bureaucracy for four months now trying to get this resolved," Cagle said in an email to the Tribune.

The Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission, an economic development agency, has a judgment filed against Gordon for $31,383.15 — a debt that's still outstanding from 2005.

Gordon and his then-business, Gordon's Gallery of Clocks, received a $35,000 loan through NPRPDC on Oct. 29, 2001, according to the court documents.

The loan was for five years at 9 percent interest with payments at $726.54 a month, starting Dec. 1, 2001, according to court documents. It was a loan from the NPRPDC and funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Gordon defaulted on the loan, and the NPRPDC filed a complaint for judgment for Oct. 19, 2005, claiming $31,383.15 was owed. The unpaid balance on the loan was $27,337.24 plus $4,045.91 for interest owed to Oct. 17, 2005, according to court documents.

"There were financial problems with the business and it almost went into bankruptcy," Gordon said. "We settled with almost all of the debt. The loan was treated as income for the business. We settled. There's nothing legally left. They (NPRPDC) wrote it off."

Jo Cramer, loan servicing coordinator for NPRPDC, confirmed the judgment against Gordon still hasn't been satisfied by Gordon.

"It was written off as uncollectible — it remains unpaid," Cramer said of the loan to Gordon.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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