SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — A Republican businessman running for governor says taxes are too high in Illinois. If he wins, Gary Rabine would take over a state agency that has unsuccessfully tried to collect more than $10,000 in delinquent taxes from one of his dissolved companies.
“My accounting firm is a great accounting firm, and we’re very seldom actually delinquent,” Rabine said in an interview.
Tax records show the Illinois Department of Employment Security filed a tax lien for $10,262 against Rabine Utility Pavements, LLC, in 2017. Rabine dissolved that company in 2019, according to records filed with the Illinois Secretary of State, but the bill remains unpaid.
When we asked Rabine to explain the delinquency, he said he was unaware of the outstanding debt until we asked him about it. His campaign aides claimed it never showed up in a rigorous financial background check.
“You found the needle in the haystack,” Rabine said in an emailed statement, before blaming the state for failing to properly notify him of his company’s debts.
“We placed a call to IDES,” Rabine said, “and the phone went unanswered. We will continue to reach out to them until this matter is resolved. If the debt is legitimate and we owe IDES, we will of course pay in full. But we will not do so until we determine its legitimacy.”
The tax lien has no mailing address listed on it, which raised questions about whether or not IDES ever sent it to the proper location. A spokesman for IDES refused to comment on the pending matter, citing a law that “prohibits IDES from disclosing information about individual employers/businesses.”
Weeks after the first questions were raised, Rabine’s campaign said they were still unable to connect with someone at IDES to resolve the outstanding debt.
“The fact that a Lien Notice floats around for 5 years from the State of Illinois with no follow-up says more about the mismanagement of the State of Illinois than any reflection on the Rabine Group,” Rabine said.
His campaign aides pointed to the bigger picture of Rabine’s overall business operations, highlighting how many Illinois workers Rabine’s companies employ, how much his companies pay in taxes ($3-6 million per year), and that his companies generate more than $100 million in annual revenue while operating with “virtually no debt.”
Authorities in three other states have also issued tax liens against Rabine companies over the years. Mississippi officials filed 41 various sales tax liens against Rabine Paving America worth more than $162,000. In Indiana, officials filed tax liens against Rabine companies worth more than $20,000. Those debts have since been paid in full.
The most recent tax lien against Rabine’s companies showed up in Wisconsin court records. Rabine claims he paid the bills but the state of Wisconsin was slow to update its paperwork during the pandemic. He provided a copy of a receipt that showed the final warrant was satisfied in January of 2022.