Hillsborough County Tax Collector candidate April Griffin might be looking at some criticism as she takes on a competitive race to replace incumbent Doug Belden.
Hillsborough County tax documents, filed with the office she seeks to lead, show Griffin was delinquent in paying property taxes on a home she and her husband own on West Henry Ave. in Tampa every year since 2010 and in 2008.
In each year, the Tax Collector’s office filed a tax certificate auction, which are interest-bearing liens meant to expedite the tax recuperation process.
“Internet auctions not only increase the speed and efficiency of the tax certificate sale, but ensure the prompt and accurate collection of delinquent tax revenue needed to fund vital county services,” according to the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s website.
Each of the payments were paid approximately one year late, though all were eventually settled.
Asked about the late payments, Griffin described an issue with the bank’s escrow process, which many homeowners use to pay property taxes and insurance. The issue went unnoticed for years, Griffin’s husband, Brian, explained, because the tax receipt and notice would come at about the same time, giving the appearance the taxes were current. As soon as he found out, he corrected the error and the property taxes are now current.
The couple did not have similar troubles with their other property, which is also in Tampa.
Still, because of the job Griffin is seeking, the issue is likely to become a campaign talking point.
In another error, Griffin improperly filled out a financial disclosure in 2017. She listed three liabilities — the home on West Henry Ave., another on East 113th Ave. in Tampa and credit cards.
The disclosure does include the amount of liability — $160,000 for the Henry home, $300,000 for the 113th Ave. home and $20,000 in credit card debt.
The disclosures do not, however, include who money is owed, a requirement on financial disclosures.
Griffin said the error was an oversight and she plans to file an amended disclosure containing lender information.
Griffin is running against Nancy Millan, current communications director for the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office. Both are Democrats.
Court records show Millan conducted a short sale on a home in Tampa in 2001. Millan was going through a divorce at the time and could no longer afford the home, she said.
The race is expected to be competitive. Griffin, as a former Hillsborough County School Board member with a loyal political following, comes to the table with robust name recognition.
Griffin has just over $6,000 on hand compared to Milan who still has about $90,000 in the bank.
The two square off in the August primary. The winner will take on Republican TK Mathew in November. He’s raised more than $51,000, and doesn’t face a primary challenger.