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Warren football great paying Warren $2,100 to resolve suit

Saturday, September 8, 2018

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

A settlement order filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court says Warren native and former NFL wide receiver Mario Manningham agreed to pay $2,100 to resolve a lawsuit filed against him by the collection company for the Warren Income Tax Department.

The payment is a fraction of the $63,219 in 2013 Warren income taxes, interest and fees the lawsuit sought to recover from Manningham.

The Vindicator reported in June that a resolution had been reached, but city officials did not provide the amount of the settlement at the time.

The lawsuit, filed in March, asked Judge Andrew Logan to order the 2012 Super Bowl hero for the New York Giants to pay taxes on about $2 million of income he earned in his final season in the NFL, when he played for the San Francisco 49ers.

Manningham’s attorney, William McGuire of Warren, argued that Manningham lived in California throughout 2013 and did not owe Warren any income taxes.

The collections company, meanwhile, argued that because Manningham’s tax preparer used an Oak Knoll Avenue Southeast address in Warren for Manningham on his 2013 city and federal taxes, Manningham owed $39,309 in city tax. The collections company, Keith D. Weiner & Associates LPA of Cleveland, added interest and fees onto the amount it said Manningham owed because he did not pay.

“They get every opportunity to take care of any outstanding liabilities. But if they don’t respond, we have to go to the next level,” Warren Income Tax Administrator Tom Gaffney said in March of people who fail to pay income taxes the city believes are owed.

The Oak Knoll address is that of Manningham’s grandmother, Annie Simpson, who told The Vindicator in March she and her grandson both found the lawsuit frustrating.

The matter was eventually resolved through mediation with Tony Cornicelli, chief common pleas court magistrate.

The order says Manningham’s $2,100 payment “does not represent any income tax liability owed by ... Manningham to the City of Warren, or the violation of any local, state or federal law [nor should it be] construed as fault, wrongdoing or liability by either party.”

The agreement bars officials from arguing at any later point that Manningham owes city income tax for any year from the time he was drafted by the Giants on April 25, 2008, until now.

The order says the city and Manningham also agree “not to file any additional lawsuit[s] against the other party.”

The settlement was reached “to avoid the substantial burden and expense of protracted litigation,” it adds.

Court documents suggest that the parties in the suit will pay their own legal fees, but Warren’s collection agency was responsible for court costs of $382.11.

Warren Treasurer Tom Letson, who oversees the Income Tax Department, said the city does not pay the costs for Weiner and Associates’ legal work. The company earns a percentage of taxes collected.

A call to Manningham’s attorney Friday was not returned.