Part of the Bay Area News Group

Video knocks assessor candidates for late taxes

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 at 1:54 pm in 2010 election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

Two Contra Costa Assessor candidates who failed to pay their property taxes on time are the starring players in a new YouTube video.

John T. Nejedly and Bob Brooks have both been late on their taxes. Brooks called it a tax strategy for Realtors while Nejedly said he was short on cash at the time. See my column on the subject here.

I’m not sure who produced this video but the author alleges that the men bought expensive toys rather than pay their taxes, the same dollars that benefit schools.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • http://ibabuzz.com Samantha

    I’m confused. This video person said they paid their taxes late, right. So they did pay their taxes…just late like many Americans do, right? So, what is the problem? And what is “cash basis” and how is it negative? I just don’t like being told something without clear cut facts.

  • John W

    Oh great! I mailed in my ballot and voted for Brooks — based on issues about Gus K. and the Times endorsement. Will the Times take back it’s endorsement? They should. No Samantha, people don’t routinely pay their property taxes two years late. If I did that, they would have a tax lien on my house with the possibility of the house being sold for back taxes. The argument that it is some kind of cash flow strategy to synch up payments with fluctuating realtor commission income, in order to help out with his income tax liabilities is bull. First of all, the law does not allow that. Second, it doesn’t make sense financially, because of the penalties. Third, it deprives the county of revenue that goes for schools, public safety, public health etc. Now, I hope Gus wins. He’s a character, but the office seems to run smoothly under his management. If Brooks wins, he should be recalled.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    If it’s any comfort, the “toys” featured in this video all belong to John T. Nejedly and were apparently taken from his Facebook pages.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Yes, this looks like one of those times then the Editorial Board of the CCTimes might have blown it. Surely it is something that can’t be overlooked.

    Those of us who make far less than Brooks and Nejedly seem to have our priorities right and ensure that our Property Taxes are paid on time.

    And John W., you just showed why you should never send in an Absentee Ballot so early. Maybe you can call the Elections Office and ask for a replacement ballot. My vote on June 8th (at the polling place) will be for Gus Kramer. Yes, he is a character, but he has done an outstanding job representing the property and homeowners.

  • Tay

    John, you voted for the right guy! Based on my investigation, Brooks is honorable, and far more
    qualified than Gus Kramer or the other two candidates. I have talked to several real estate people
    who told me that they have paid their property taxes in arrears because of lean commissions.
    When they had a profitable year, they paid their taxes and the penalties because they had a large
    cash inflow and could afford to pay the taxes and penalties. The amount of penalties doesn’t
    matter if you are conserving money to live on until the real estate markets get stronger. I read
    Bob Brooks’ answer on his website and found it credible. The county isn’t deprived of anything!
    They got more money from Brooks than those who paid on time. He paid more than his share
    for schools, public safety, public health etc. In my opinion, Gus should be in jail, not running for
    office. My information is that Bob Brooks doesn’t own 19 houses like Kramer, nor does he own
    any “toys” as depicted in the video. I was told he owns one car and one home. He sounds pretty
    normal to me. Thanks Contra Costa Times for endorsing the RIGHT guy.

  • John W

    Arne Simonsen — You’re right about sending the ballot in early. I do my homework and generally know how I’m going to vote before the ballot ever arrives. But I’ve been burned a couple of times and will henceforth turn in my ballot the day of the election.

  • A Voters View

    Oh for goodness sake, Tay…how can anyone say that Brooks is the most qualified? Brooks has sat on the Assessment Appeals Board and has heard what MAYBE 10-15 appeals in TOTAL over ALL the years he’s served? How does that make him more qualified? Kramer has run the Assessor’s Office for over 15 years and received a 99%+ accuracy rating from a State Board of Equalization audit in late 2009…check it out, it’s on the web. Think about it, his office values hundreds of thousands of properties every year in our County! Compare this to Brooks’ 15 total appeals he’s sat on. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be disrespectful but in what universe does Brooks out-qualify Kramer? And for that matter, how does any of the other candidates in this race out-qualify Kramer?

    I don’t know how many homes Kramer owns but since when is that a reason not to be Assessor? This is America isn’t it? Kramer has a right to own property doesn’t he? He is paying his property taxes on time on those properties isn’t he? So, what’s your beef here? As a matter of fact, I like the idea that our Assessor owns property in our County and has an understanding of what property owners’ issues are, especially now in the tough times we are having.

    Yes, Kramer is known to be a colorful character…so what. In my book experience counts, especially when that experience produces a near perfect record from the State of California’s Board of Equalization. Oh wait, that is unless you think Brooks or the Times is more qualified than the BOE to determine how well Kramer runs the Assessor’s Office.

    The State says Kramer is getting the job done and getting it done right. I don’t give a hoot who the Times says I should vote for. I’ll hedge my bet on proven results. Kramer has my vote!

  • Love My County

    Bob Brooks – Go to public records, he was late on his property taxes from 2007 – 2009 and finally paid in Jan 2010. How convenient? Right before he throws his hat in the race. Did you read the remarks as to who he “borrowed” the money from?? Do your research people. So let me get this right, he is a failed real estate broker(not unusual considering economy) and a failed bail bondsman and he thinks he has the skill set to CCC assessments which is responsible for our counties largest revenue stream. Having 2 failed businesses are not enough experience to get my vote. GET THIS _ did you know the CCC Times endorsement is quite self serving?? Brooks sits on the appeals board and the CCC Times is protesting their assessed value. OF COURSE they are going to support Brooks, it is in THEIR best interest.
    Now on to Gus Kramer…..He has abused his power for long enough. Time for him to go! All you have to do is Google his name and you can find several articles on his bad behavior as a leader and immoral behavior. How much money does he have to cost us tax payers behavior we decide enough is enough.
    My vote for who I believe is the best qualified candidate for the job is Ross Butler! Go to his website and read about his qualifications. I think its Butler for Assessor or Google him. He is a financial advisor, has a finance degree from BYU, has the job experience, has kids in the public school system therefore, has a vested interest in making sure CCC is successful and is managed well. Great speaker and dynamic.
    John Nejedly – I don’t know much about his background except that he serves on a some school board and his Dad was a politician. His sister is Mary Piepho and there was a family riff over their Dad’s trust. Imagine that? A family fighting over money! He isn’t a great speaker, looked uncomfortable(maybe because his sister was there, they didn’t speak). I felt bad for him but noone gets a sympathy vote.

  • Martinez Voter

    I can see being late one time but to do it for 2 or 3 years makes me wonder how Mr. Brooks conducts business. Does he use that same excuse for State & Fed. taxes? guess he doesn’t mind paying their interest & penalties. The Times reported he borrowed money from Ms Peoples, I think, $30,000 for his campaign. I think Ms. Peoples better look at that as a donation more than a loan. If he can’t pay his taxes ??? I will vote for Gus Kramer.

  • steve weir

    Once a ballot has been cast, it cannot be recalled. It is possible that a ballot mailed to the Elections Office will be mis-directed by the Post Office (this is a small fraction of one percent) and thus is not cast. In such an instance, a second ballot can be issued.

    We recommend that voters, who are voting by mail, send in their ballot no later than the Friday before election day, or to take their ballots to any polling place in the County on election day.

    We have found that for primary elections, we average about one half of our mail ballots are received the last nine days of the election cycle.

    Reminder: Vote by mail ballots must be received by the Registrar by 8 pm election day, post marks don’t count.

  • John W

    Re #8 Love My Country

    Cheap shot at the CC Times. I’m cynical, but not THAT cynical. The editorial board had very good reasons to question whether Gus Kramer should be returned to office. But, in their search for an alternative to Gus, my 20/20 hindsight tells me they were a bit too superficial in their assessment of Brooks’ not-that-impressive qualifications, even without the issue of his taxes.

  • John W

    Steve Weir. Thanks for the info. Darn! Guess that means I can’t take back my vote for you. Just kidding. That’s one vote I’m highly confident I got right.

  • West County Voter

    Thank you Lisa !! It’s about time someone did some serious investigative journalism around here.

    After reading Lisa’s Blog I decided to do my homework before voting. Lisa, is there anything we need to know about the other County positions before casting votes? I’ve looked up, as best I can, other candidates County Tax Records and have found it pretty clean. But of course I don’t have everyone’s address.

    As to the Assessor’s race – I’m going to vote for Ross Butler.

    Gus Kramer:
    1. Still being investigated by the D.A.’s office and has not yet been resolved.
    2. Close to $1 million of County money to pay on Assessor lawsuits
    3. And the list goes on… Just Google “Gus Kramer” “assessor” and that will keep you busy
    4. Has been given a great rating from the State for running the Assessor’s Office.

    Bob Brooks:
    1. Lisa says it all in her Blog and video about being a Tax Deadbeat
    2. I found out Bob is a “bounty hunter” and has a defunct real estate business too. I wonder if he’s on Social Security???
    3. What does being an airplane pilot have to do with the Assessor’s Office? John Nejedly should push that he has a Contractor License, which trumps the Airplane License…
    4. He is part of the Appeals Board, but how can he be qualified for the Assessor’s position if he only meets once a month for the past five years?? Does that make him an expert?

    John Nejedly:
    1. Another Tax Deadbeat that has taken money out of our schools during a time of need.
    2. Has been in Politics with the Contra Costa Community College district.
    2. He’s a lawyer and owns his own construction company. How does that remotely qualify him for the Assessor’s Office?

    Ross Butler:
    1. Has been in Politics
    2. Holds a California Real Estate Licenses and seems to understand Commercial and Residential Real Estate
    3. In his web site he’s dealt with large budgets and staffs.
    4. Graduated in Business Finance
    5. Has owned a number of successful businesses and seems to know how to run an office.
    6. I can’t find anything controversial about this guy – which is something our Government Officials should all have… A clean bill of health. And He’s paid his taxes.

    Lisa – Please give us more on the other County Office Candidates…

  • Etta

    As a follower of the 2010 Assessor’s race, I did some research. Here are my findings.

    Gus Kramer: Education…Unverified. Experience…15 yrs. Cost to Taxpayers…$993,880,00

    Bob Brooks: Education…MBA. Experience…6 yrs. Cost to Taxpayers…$0.00

    Ross Butler: Education…BA. Experience…None. Cost to Taxpayers…$0.00

    John Nejedley: Education…JD. Experience…None. Cost to Taxpayers…$0.00

    John Nejedley PAID his delinquent property taxes and penalties.
    Bob Brooks PAID his delinquent property taxes and penalties.
    Gus Kramer PAID $21,000.00 in delinquent property taxes and penalties as the result of a retroactive reassessment forced by a CC Times investigation.

    Gus Kramer COST the county $993,880.00 to settle his retaliation lawsuit.

    Gus Kramer refused to make payments on a home he owned and it was seized by foreclosure. He DID NOT PAY loans and fees of approximately $345,788.13, which included property taxes that were advanced on his behalf.

    Gus Kramer was fined $5,000.00 in 2008 by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for demolishing a house that he owned in Bay Point without first properly notifying the agency or surveying the site for asbestos.

    The clear alternative to Gus Kramer is Bob Brooks.

  • Rajah

    A clear alternative to Gus Kramer – Bob Brooks ??

    Clearly a man of Integrity and Ethics like Congressman John Garamendi would have felt the same way if Bob had not been delinquent in his taxes for years – and that’s why Garamendi pulled his endorsement from Bob.

    Like Lisa Vorderbrueggen’s article quotes, “I have never heard of a Realtor employing as a consistent strategy the postponement of the payment of their taxes,” said Chuck Lamb, a Walnut Creek Realtor, past president of the California Association of Realtors and member of numerous industry groups. “I do know when Realtors get under economic strain, they have to postpone payments or they charge the taxes on lower interest credit cards. But it is not a tax strategy.”

    Try again Etta. Let’s face it, if a guy like Brooks derives income from Social Security, Real Estate Broker and a Bail Bonds company and can’t scrape up $2,000 every six months for a tax bill – then there’s something wrong here…

  • Love My County

    Re: John W

    Hmmm..cheap shot? I don’t think so. They rushed their endorsement of Brooks without due diligence.
    Research is part of good journalism and what makes a paper credible. I feel they missed the mark and I would not consider using any of their endorsements when voting. Reading above that Garamendi pulled his endorsement would have been valuable info for CC Times to publish.
    I agree with Rajah regarding the fact that if Brooks can’t scrape up $2K a year to pay his taxes, that’s a problem. I found this link which verifies his and Nejedly’s deliquent taxes – http://www.site.saveourccschools.com/

    Practice responsible voting!

  • Martinez Voter

    I keep reading about the DA investigating Gus Kramer. This has been going on since the hearing. The DA is through with Kramer. If they had something on Kramer it would have made the headlines. Mute Point.

    Based on what I have read about Brooks and his being a yes man to Chevron and/or other oil company appeals, Contra Costa and everyone living here will loose alot more than the Bernice peoples settlement, they say the county paid. When the economy comes back, and the property values are suspose to be retored what will Brooks do “decline” Brooks and Nedjley can’t pay their taxes on time, don’t or won’t is more my question. I guess you can say they all come with their baggage but I had lot rather have the experience of Gus Kramer to see us through this ecomomy downtime than have a couple of guys that looking for a job.

  • Bill P.

    Re #17 – Martinez Voter
    You erroneously assume that Contra Costa County has a competent District Attorney and staff. In reality, the current D.A. and his staff are dysfunctional and a melodrama in and of themselves. A sex crimes prosecutor is himself accused of a sex crime. Attorneys engage in workplace violence against one another. Meanwhile, law enforcement for the average Contra Costa citizen suffers. The D.A.’s office has cut back substantially on prosecution of all but violent crimes. This means that petty thieves, low-level thugs and dishonest businesses can operate without real fear of being brought before the justice system. Plus most District Attorneys try to avoid prosecuting fellow elected officials. Kramer himself is endorsed (inexplicably) by fellow county elected officials. Kramer (or any other elected official) could be obviously guilty of most any major crime, but the D.A. can choose not to prosecute. I think that Elle Falahat deserves our votes for D.A. She has prosecutorial experience, yet is completely apart from the “good ole boy/frat boy” mentality that now dominates the Contra Costa D.A.’s office.

  • http://guskramer.com GusKramer.Com

    For more information on Gus Kramer see guskramer.com or guskramer.net

  • Inquiring minds want to know. . .

    I can’t sit here and continue to read the intentional DISINFORMATION (Merriam-Webster’s definition of this word . . . “false information deliberately and often covertly spread in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth”) the Contra Costa Times editors and writing staff repeatedly disseminate to the public about Gus Kramer’s alleged “deed fraud” against Kim Bourque in a real estate transaction concerning his property on Risdon Road in Concord. This allegation was the cornerstone of Times reporter, Matthias Gafni’s “National Enquirer-esque” exposé piece last year and continues to be regurgitated by the Times editorial and writing staff during this election season much to the delight of Kramer’s opponents.

    Throughout the CCTimes multi-part series, Kramer asserted his innocence and publicly stated that Bourque fabricated the tale, for reasons only she could know. At the center of Bourque’s story was the claim that her signature had been forged on the property’s deed. In true Gafni-fashion, it was reported that the notary involved in the transaction was ‘nowhere to be found’ along with her signature journal, creating the appearance of a smoking gun. This lead readers to believe a conspiracy occurred between Kramer and the notary to defraud Kim Bourque. The Times story ultimately resulted in an inquiry by the DA’s Office.

    Here’s the rest of the story . . .

    Soon after the story broke, the DA’s Office located the notary along with the signature journal used during the transaction. Steve Weir, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder, assisted in the DA’s inquiry by reviewing the recorded property documents between Kramer and Bourque as well as determining the authenticity of Bourque’s signature on the deed and notary signature/identification journal.

    The fact that the notary’s signature journal was found and analyzed with a definitive result was NEVER shared with the CCTimes readers even though this information was shared with multiple CCTimes editors and writers (including Dan Borenstein). One can only guess why they decided to withhold this key piece of information. Perhaps it was because it wouldn’t support their exposé piece or their intended endorsement?

    I follow this blog regularly and see posts from Steve Weir whenever clarification is needed related to the Recorder/Elections department. Steve Weir is a well-respected official in our County with no personal interest in this issue. Let’s ask Steve Weir what the outcome of this review was and if this information was shared with the Times. Also, if this was shared with the Times, when was it shared and what was their response? Let’s hope this will be one of those times Steve reads the blog and chooses to share enlightening information with the readers. It’s clear the CCTimes has no intention of printing this long-overdue piece of information, especially when it may exonerate Kramer.

    Inquiring minds want to know . . .

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Inquiring …

    You are wrong. I spoke directly to DA Bob Kochly on this very subject and he would not discuss any details about Kramer. He would only say that the investigation is “ongoing.” I have never been told on or off the record by anyone in the DA’s office that the DA cleared Kramer on the deed question or any other details that the DA may or may not be investigating.