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WARREN City takes officials to court for lack of income tax forms



Published: Tue, September 25, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The councilwoman's case was dismissed. She had to pay $75 in court costs.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

and STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A city councilwoman and the head of Warren's building inspection department have been summoned to appear in court for not filing municipal income tax forms.

Greg Hicks, the city law director, has filed the cases on behalf of city treasurer Patricia Leon-Games. He said more cases are pending.

Those named in the first batch of summonses include Helen Rucker, 6th Ward councilwoman who is up for re-election next month, and Wayne T. DaBelko, who was hired in April to head up the building department.

"It was like a cat fight between me and Patti Games," Rucker said. "It was meant to embarrass me."

Payments are current: Rucker is up-to-date in her tax payments, which are automatically deducted by her employer, Delphi Packard Automotive Systems.

However, she failed to file mandatory income tax forms in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Rucker filed Monday and Municipal Judge Thomas Gysegem dismissed the charges. Rucker had to pay $75 in court costs.

"I paid my taxes," she said. "What people are concerned about is the people who are out there who owe the city $2 million," the amount officials say is due from unpaid taxes.

Games was not available to comment. Income tax department employees declined to comment in her absence.

Rucker said she went to Games' office several times over the past few months and each time, Games told her that "everything was fine."

"She told me not to worry about it and then this happens," Rucker said.

Second case: DaBelko, of Cortland, is accused of not paying taxes in 1996 and 1997 and for failing to file tax returns for 1998, 1999 and 2000.

"This was not something I did intentionally and now that it has been brought to my attention I want to get this taken care of," DaBelko said.

"I have an accountant and two tax attorneys working on this. This is not something that I am ignoring."

DaBelko said he believes he owes the city about $1,700.




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