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By FITSNews || Public tax records belonging to Ken Ard – one of two finalists in the race for South Carolina’s Republican lieutenant gubernatorial nomination – are facing renewed scrutiny after allegations were made that the Florence County Councilman was late paying his taxes on multiple occasions.

FITS conducted a review of Ard’s property tax records Tuesday and discovered that he was indeed late in paying his vehicle and real estate tax bills a total of fifteen times over the last nine years.  In five of those cases, Ard was more than six months delinquent in paying the bills.

Here’s a recap of his tax tardiness:

REAL ESTATE – $231.23 (2 months late – due 1/15/2001, paid 3/20/2001)
VEHICLE – $367.62 (11 months late – due 8/2/2001, paid 7/22/2002)
VEHICLE – $294.26 (2.5 months late – due 4/30/2002, paid 7/22/2002)
REAL ESTATE – $2570.02 (3 months late – due 1/15/2003, paid 4/23/2003)
VEHICLE – $343.39 (8 months late – due 4/30/2003, paid 12/29/2003)
REAL ESTATE – $2677.51 (11 months late – scheduled for sale – due 1/15/2004, paid 12/3/2004)
REAL ESTATE – $3013.84 (6 months late – due 1/15/2005, paid 8/1/2005)
VEHICLE – $779.79 (8 months – due 10/31/2005, paid 6/19/2006)
REAL ESTATE – $3632.39 (1.5 years late – scheduled for sale – due 1/15/2005, paid 8/9/2006)
REAL ESTATE – $3677.37 (3 months late – due 1/15/2007, paid 4/30/2007)
VEHICLE – $255.98 (1 month late – due 4/30/2007, paid 5/15/2007)
REAL ESTATE – $707.22 (2 month late – due 2/14/2008, paid 4/15/2008)
REAL ESTATE – $309.28 (4 months late – due 1/15/2009, paid 5/8/2009)
VEHICLE – $147.10 (2 months late – due 3/3/2009, paid 5/11/2009)
REAL ESTATE – $1653.53 (still outstanding)

Obviously, Ard isn’t alone among Palmetto politicians when it comes to his tax troubles.  U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-York) has had minor tax issues in the past, as has SCGOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd.  So has S.C. Rep. Kris Crawford.

As far as we can tell, though, Ard eventually pays his bills – which leads us to believe this really isn’t all that big of a deal.  Still, it does highlight the need for candidates to have their financial house in order – or at the very least be ready to offer an explanation in the event they don’t.

Having already endorsed Bill Connor – Ard’s opponent in the June 22 runoff – we’re not sure this new information really matters all that much to us.  We think their respective positions on the tax issues that really matter are clear enough for those trying to decide which candidate to support …