Shelton alderman candidate begins paying $11K in back taxes

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Board of Alderman candidate Chris Jones is aware that he owes the city back taxes. Now, motorists driving around town are aware of it too.

Jones was part owner of the since-closed Bricks and Barley Tavern and city records show he and his partners owe back taxes on the business that closed in 2017. This week political signs popped up around town letting residents know about Jones’s situation.

“There were three partners involved in this establishment,” Jones told Hearst Connecticut Media Tuesday. “Upon closing the doors, there was disagreements as to who should be paying which bills. It was turned over to the attorneys. This civil litigation matter was recently resolved.”

Jones, endorsed by Envision Shelton and running for a seat in the Third Ward, acknowledged there are $11,572 in back taxes owed on the business, which was located at 441 Howe Ave. before closing in 2017. The amount owed includes $6,043.34 in property taxes, plus $5,529.65 in interest from the initial 2015 tax bill.

The amount owed is as of Oct. 18, 2021, according to personal property data from the city’s finance department.

Envision Shelton head Lorraine Rossner said the tax situation regarding the closing Bricks & Barley Tavern has been resolved, but, it does take a long time to finalize financial responsibilities through the court system.

“The court action regarding the tavern has been settled and a payment plan is in place and Chris Jones is doing his due diligence in making an effort to return back taxes owed to the city,” Rossner said. “Chris is doing the right thing and living up to the former businesses’ financial obligation.

“I am sure this is not the first time a business in Shelton has gone through this process,” Rossner added.

Jones said he was instructed to start a payment plan for any owed taxes to avoid additional interest.

“A payment schedule of $500 has been arranged with the Shelton Tax Collector,” Jones said. He also supplied a receipt for the initial payment dated Oct. 19, 2021, the day after receiving a media request for comment on the issue.

Jones called the signs “dirty politics,” adding that he “by no means do I just choose not to pay my taxes. I have always paid my taxes on time and in full.”

The signs were paid for the Shelton Republican Town Committee. One of them, on Long Hill Ave., was vandalized only hours after it was put up and has since been removed. The RTC filed a police report, which Lt. Robert Kozlowsky confirmed but offered no further details.

“The truth and transparency of Chris Jones’s delinquent tax situation is disturbing. Jones has been criticizing the Lauretti team and Shelton RTC for 15 years,” RTC Chairman Anthony Simonetti said. “His failure to pay taxes is an insult to those who do pay them on a timely basis. As a candidate for elected office, Jones’s tax delinquency of six years is not something that should be hidden from voters in Shelton and specifically those in the Third Ward.”

Vandalism of any property should be reported to the police, Simonetti said, adding that the cost to the Shelton Republicans for signs and other campaign materials are provided by citizens who voluntarily donated in support of the party’s candidates.

“The aldermen provide the fiscal oversight per the Shelton City Charter,” Simonetti said. “They set the mill rate each year. It is hypocritical to be a candidate for alderman when you do not respect the tax regulations of our municipality.”