Businessman catching fire in Mollohan’s district has tax liens

Kris Warner, a former state Republican Party chairman, said the $10,000 lien was issued because the county lost an insurance form the Warners had filled out. He said the lien has been satisfied.

The other $23,000 in liens stem from a court case involving the $29 million development project the brothers embarked upon on the West Virginia University campus in Morgantown, W.Va., before the economic crisis hit. Mac Warner is a minority partner in that project.

Kris Warner sought to distance his brother from whatever financial problems the family business has. He said PNC is trying to get whatever it can out of a settlement, so it’s throwing everything it can at the brothers.

“Anything that PNC listed there, you haven’t seen our side of that case,” Kris Warner said. “That’s what the whole process is for.”

He did not deny that tax liens exist, but he emphasized that they are on the business and not Mac Warner individually.

“I’m not going to say unequivocally there are no liens anywhere on the business; that’s not the case,” Kris Warner said. “But it’s not something that would reflect in any way on Mac’s candidacy or Mac personally.

“I don’t think Mac is running from that. He’s a 25 percent owner, but he was not a managing owner.”

When the bank that loaned the Warners the money – National City Bank – went under, it was acquired by PNC in what has been described as a “shotgun marriage.” An ensuing conflict with PNC over their loan has left the Warners $14 million in debt and forced them into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as they seek to reorganize their business.

The situation has also led them to sue the city of Morgantown for the conduct of its fire and building code inspectors, who the Warners say harassed and intimidated them, according to the Associated Press.

But it hasn’t kept Warner from running an increasingly successful campaign for Congress. Mollohan’s seat has emerged as a top GOP target, especially with the incumbent’s ethical problems and the conservative nature of the district.

The primary is May 11. Mollohan also faces intra-party opposition from state Sen. Mike Oliverio. Either way, GOP leaders have made his seat a top priority.