The Richmond County Board of Elections will hear a Hephzibah man’s challenge against a sheriff’s candidate Monday.
Willie E. Cooper Jr. is challenging the candidacy of Richmond County school Public Safety Lt. Richard Roundtree, alleging that Roundtree is ineligible to run because he owes state and federal taxes dating back to 1997, according to a May 31 letter to the board of elections.
Cooper’s complaint alleges that Roundtree owes more than $17,000 in federal taxes for the years 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005. He also says Roundtree owes almost $800 in state taxes for 2004 and 2005.
Cooper cites the same section of the state constitution that appeared in a complaint filed against Superior Court judge candidate Willie Saunders, filed last month by Augusta lawyer Jack Long.
The section states that no one who is a tax “defaulter” may run for or hold office. The law provides an exception for someone who is in a payment plan to satisfy a tax debt.
Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said the public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the municipal building on Greene Street.
Roundtree called the hearing “an unfortunate formality,” but not a serious threat to his candidacy.
“That is not accurate. We are in compliance,” he said of the complaint’s allegations. Although he didn’t address tax issues directly, Roundtree said he has submitted documents that show he has met the standards.
“We will go through it on Monday and move forward from there,” he said.