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Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 7:56am

Ex-Speaker Pays Taxes With Campaign Money

Former Speaker of the Georgia House, Democrat Terry Coleman, used thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay a property tax bill in Henry County.

It’s unclear what property Coleman paid taxes on, and workers at the Henry County property tax office could not find records for the $3,758 payment.

The former speaker and current Deputy Agricultural Commissioner did not return calls for comment. However, in his campaign filings, he explained the tax payment this way: “income of 2845.00 was from ex employee theft - WE HOLD PROPERTY TO OFFSET THIS LOSS THUS THE PROPERTY TAXES PAID.”

No other explanation or clarification was given.

The story was first reported online at Atlanta Unfiltered.

Property taxes are generally considered a personal expense.

State law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal payments.

As a state lawmaker, Coleman has been the target of at least three ethics investigations.

In the late 90s, Coleman paid about $7,000 in fines related to violations. He was also investigated by federal authorities for using campaign funds to pay mortgage bills on a property owned by a company Coleman owned.

No charges were filed in that investigation, but Coleman’s company paid almost $40,000 back to his campaign.

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