Ex-NFL star set for trial over Warren income taxes

By Ed Runyan



Attorneys for Warren native Mario Manningham acknowledge that a tax preparer for the former Warren G. Harding High and New York Giants football star filed erroneous tax documents with the Warren Income Tax Department in 2014.

But the city, in trying to collect nearly $40,000 in 2013 income taxes from Manningham’s earnings with the San Francisco 49ers, “unlawfully forged” his tax return, Manningham’s attorneys say.

Attorneys for the collection company the city uses, meanwhile, say the city is charging Manningham city income taxes on his football earnings because Manningham used a Warren address on his 2013 city income tax return and his federal return.

The filings are contained in the civil suit filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court more than a year ago demanding that Manningham pay $39,309 city income tax for 2013. With interest and a late charge added, he owes $63,219, court documents say.

A final pretrial hearing in the case is set for 9 a.m. Thursday, and the case has a 9 a.m. May 2 trial date.

Both sides have now asked Judge Andrew Logan to rule in their favor without a hearing.

Manningham’s April 6 filing says he and his family lived in California throughout 2013, but he paid taxes as a non-resident of Louisiana, New Jersey and Maryland for football-related earnings.

“He did not live within the city of Warren, and his employers, the San Francisco 49ers, were not located within the city of Warren,” the filing says.

But his tax preparer, longtime friend Sterling Williams of Tax Master Accounting and Tax Services on Main Avenue Southwest, filed his taxes, including two to the Warren Income Tax Department – an individual return and one for a company his grandfather ran called Magnificent Cashmere, which owned one rental property and claimed a loss of $6.

Manningham’s individual return erroneously showed $12,688 income from product endorsements that were properly filed in New Jersey, the filing says. To correct the error, Williams filed an amended return for Manningham showing no taxes due, “as none of the product endorsements were in the city of Warren,” the filing says.

A copy of Manningham’s federal return was included with the city income tax returns.

A filing by the city shows Manningham’s personal income tax return filed in August 2014 has the “resident” box checked, his address listed as being on Oak Knoll Avenue in Warren, and it reports $12,688 of income and taxes owed of $254.

But someone hand-wrote other numbers on the document that add Manningham’s NFL earnings to the endorsement earnings and showing taxable income of nearly $2 million, resulting in Warren income taxes of $39,309 plus penalties and interest of $8,285.

That handwritten information is what Manningham’s lawyers term “unlawfully forged.”

A Feb. 14 filing from the city includes a copy of the Warren income tax code, which says that in any case where a taxpayer has filed a return that does not show the proper amount of tax due, the “City Treasurer shall fix the amount of tax actually due the City from the taxpayer” and notify the taxpayer of the actual amount owed.

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