Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim has become the subject of approximately $6,000.00 in penalties levied on him by the state of New York. These penalties were the result of his failure to file the appropriate tax reports with the New York State Department of Taxation.
This is a “warrant” issued against the law offices of Ronald Kim by the New York State Department of Taxation on December 16,2021 and registered with Saratoga County.
A warrant allows the state to place liens on Mayor Kim’s properties and even to garnish his wages.
According to the warrant, the state began levying fines against Kim for failure to file required forms beginning in July of 2019 up to September of 2020.
A Totally Avoidable Blunder
The warrant indicates that from July of 2019 to September of 2020, Mayor Kim’s law office failed to submit tax form NYS-45. This form is to report quarterly withholding, Wage Reporting, and Unemployment Insurance.
During the last campaign, it was reported that Mr. Kim had failed also to pay his workman’s comp insurance and owed $7,000.00. Kim defended himself by asserting that during the period he had no employees and so, according to him, he was not required to maintain insurance. He called it a “misunderstanding” that he planned to address.
I will accept that during this period he did not have any employees although it seems odd that a law office would not have even a secretary. The problem is that unless notified otherwise, New York State assumes that if you have been withholding taxes during the previous quarter that you still have employees and must continue to report your withholding and other tax-related obligations.
If you do not submit NYS-45 or advise the state that you no longer have employees, then there is an automatic penalty. In this case, it is $1000.00 per quarter plus accrued penalty interest.
Kim failed to submit this form for over a year despite notices that the tax department would have been sending him.
So, all Mr. Kim had to do to avoid penalties was to notify state taxation that he no longer had employees. One has to wonder why he didn’t just notify the state to avoid all of this.
As of this blog post March 11, 2022, the warrant has not been satisfied so it can be assumed that he has neither paid the fines nor resolved the basis of the problem in consultation with the New York State Department of Taxation. It is also unclear whether Mayor Kim is continuing to rack up more fines.
It is worth noting also that the warrant refers to “last known address.” In this case, it was an address that he had vacated back in 2016. It may be that since 2016, some five years, the New York State Tax Department has not known how to contact him if he never notified them of a change of address.
What this tells us
Mayor Kim’s record in office has been a continued series of errors and mismanagement.
For an attorney, he seems especially indifferent to record-keeping, and inconvenient laws that might interfere with something he wants to do. The city has many dedicated staff with years of experience that should be a vital resource but the reports I hear from city hall are that his office operates in a sort of siege mentality.
As an example of his obliviousness, consider his promise made at the March 1, 2022, City Council meeting. At that meeting, he announced that he would be holding a public hearing in order to adopt the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) which he erroneously claimed had not been done appropriately due to errors by the last administration. He announced that he would be posting the document the next day (March 2, 2022) that would be the subject of the hearing.
As of today March 11, I have been unable to locate the document on the city’s website. An email to the Mayor asking for the name of the document and where it is located on the city website has gone unanswered.
This is a fundamental failure not only to live up to a public promise, but it undermines the fundamentals of transparency that are central to the democratic process.
The reality is that this is simply another example of his indifference to his obligations. It seems that Mayor Kim simply ignores inconvenient truths or, as in the case with his court fiasco, he blames others for what are clearly his own missteps. Unfortunately for the city, he seems to live in some kind of alternate reality.