An embattled state senator owes the federal government about $250,000 in past-due income taxes, the Duluth News Tribune reported Friday.
Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, was stripped of his party's endorsement late last month because he inserted last-minute language into a major fish and game bill to improve walleye fishing on a northeastern Minnesota lake where he owns a cabin. That provision was one reason Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the bill.
On Friday, the newspaper reported that tax records show Chaudhary and his wife, Denise, failed to pay $100,000 in income taxes in 2007 and $151,000 in 2008.
Chaudhary told the News Tribune on Thursday that the delinquent taxes were due to his wife's wrongful termination by Celgene, a biopharmaceutical company. He said that forced her to exercise or lose some of her stock options.
"In general, she had to use some of her stocks to purchase other stocks, and so that led to a huge tax liability," he said.
He said his wife has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.
Chaudhary also said he has a plan with the IRS to pay his taxes "pretty quickly."
"The tax impact is part of the damages we're seeking from Celgene," he said.
DFL Party spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie declined to comment on the back taxes.
Chaudhary, chairman of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, secured the walleye provision for Fish Lake by asking the bill's House author to insert it during a floor debate. It would have increased the stock of larger walleyes in the lake, likely through limits on the fish harvest. He later said he wasn't self-dealing and apologized after other Fish Lake area residents complained. He said he had acted on incorrect information that a large majority of them thought its walleyes were too small and wanted action to improve the fishing.
Information from: Duluth News Tribune
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