Tax lien casts cloud over Mayor Hall

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

According to records from the Williamson County Clerk’s Office, Liberty Hill Mayor Rick Hall’s home was listed on the January 2020 Notice of Foreclosures in the county.

In addition to the foreclosure notice, which had a creation date of Nov. 26, 2019, further research indicated an IRS tax lien in the amount of $67,240.23. The tax lien date is July 16, 2019, and the tax period date is listed as Dec. 31, 2015-Dec. 31, 2016.

The Independent requested a telephone interview with Hall to clarify the information, and while he indicated Wednesday morning he would discuss the matter in an interview, he instead responded hours later to questions with an e-mailed statement. Hall said he was in a meeting throughout the day Wednesday.

In his statement, Hall wrote, “Our home was recently posted for a foreclosure sale. We consulted with a modification loan company early on who told us they could help. This process took longer than we had anticipated. Our mortgage company started the process of foreclosure on the property. We decided then to sell our home to prevent the foreclosure from being processed.”

The foreclosure notice from the County Clerk’s office did not verify if the property, located at 801 Loop 332, was sold during the foreclosure sale on Tuesday. Hall also did not respond to a question about whether he was continuing to reside in the home or if he had a new residence.

Hall also verified the tax lien, which was referred to in records as being related to a small business, would be paid off by the sale of the home, but he denied it was related to business taxes, saying later in the day in a text message that it was related to “personal taxes not business.”

Hall responded by e-mail to questions seeking explanation of the lien with a statement, but did not address the circumstances of the tax lien or foreclosure notice.

His statement appears below, unedited:

“As mayor of Liberty Hill, I have always put this city as my utmost priority. There are some personal financial issues that my family and I have been undergoing that has come to attention and I would like to talk to you about that today.

“Our home was recently posted for a foreclosure sale. We consulted with a modification loan company early on who told us they could help. This process took longer than we had anticipated. Our mortgage company started the process of foreclosure on the property. We decided then to sell our home to prevent the foreclosure from being processed.

“We also have a tax lien on our home that will be paid with the sale of our home.

“My family and I have always loved this city and I as your Mayor have put my heart and soul into serving our community. Unforeseen things happen but my family and I are working to resolve our financial issues.

“When I was elected, I soon realized that the amount of time that was needed to make our city great and provide the items that our city needs was more than just a few hours a week. My family and I made a decision to put all of my efforts into the position of Mayor and to provide the support to our city that is needed. I want to let you know that this has in no way hindered my ability to serve you as the Mayor of our great city. I will continue to place Liberty Hill first as I have always done even through these personal issues that my family and I are currently going through.”

Hall did not respond Wednesday to follow up requests for clarification on the issue.

Since first announcing his candidacy for Mayor in the Spring of 2018, Hall has made his business management and leadership experience a key issue in touting his qualifications to lead the City. He regularly cited that experience in both his campaigning and in justifications for changes in City leadership structure. Hall did not respond last September to a request from The Independent for his resume.

In June 2018, Hall defended a push for an increased supervisory role with City staff. A City Council vote approved taking supervisory duties from then-City Administrator Greg Boatright and giving them to the Mayor.

“Greg’s mentioned to me a couple of times, and he’s even said it in Council meetings, that he is not a manager,” Hall said at the time. “So with changing this, and the conversation we had today, I want to help – for lack of a better term, teach (Boatright) how to be the manager the city needs him to be. I’ve had 22 years experience with staff management with thousands of employees under me and I’m just trying to create a structure so we have a solid path moving forward.”

When the City and Boatright parted ways in August 2019, Hall again pointed to his business experience as an asset and something that positioned him to lead the City.

He also supported the measure in the current budget approved in September 2019 to create a salary of $40,000 for the Mayor and $12,000 for council members. Salaries for each place do not go into effect until the next time someone is elected to each position on the Council. Hall’s term as mayor expires in May, and the filing period to run for re-election begins Jan. 15.

Editor’s Note: Read the accompanying Editorial for more on this story and insight into The Independent staff’s decision-making process on how to cover this story.

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