Over the past six months, state Rep.
Erik Fresen has established himself as the go-to-politician for the
gambling industry tycoons who want to bring gargantuan casino resorts
to the Magic City. The lawmaker from Coral Gables is the
mastermind behind one of two proposed bills that would allow
Malaysian-based Genting or one of its Las Vegas competitors to build
gambling castles in downtown Miami or the Miami Beach Convention
Center. Under his proposal, casinos would only share a measly ten
percent of gambling revenues with the state.
Then again, considering Fresen's own
troubles with paying the IRS, maybe it's no shock that he's not
putting taxpayers first.
According to Miami-Dade court records,
Fresen owes close to thirty grand in taxes to the Internal Revenue
Service and $641,000 to his mortgage lender. For a guy who claims a
personal net worth of $330,000, that is a lot a debt. Even worse, he
didn't list the obligations on his most recent personal financial
Fresen didn't return multiple messages
Riptide left at his offices in Miami and in Tallahassee.
Under Florida law, it is illegal for
public officials to omit liabilities on the declaration form.
Recently, the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission fined ex-North Bay Village
Esquijarosa because she submitted a disclosure statement that did
not list a judgement against her, as well as income she derived from
a rental property.
On Fresen's 2010
disclosure sheet, he lists just $113,000 in Sallie Mae student
loans as his only liability. Yet, the
IRS recently filed a lien against Fresen, claiming he did not pay
$7,274 in income taxes he owed in 2004, as well as $21,925 owed for
That's not all. In 2009, La
Salle Bank won a $641,000 final judgement for foreclosure on
Fresen's Coral Gables residence. A year later, the judgment was
overturned and the bank had to file new foreclosure proceedings
against Fresen. Since the debts occurred before 2010, Fresen was
required to list then all on the liabilities section.
It is not the first time the state
representative, a "land use consultant" who was first
elected in 2008, has been accused of breaking the rules.
Last year he paid $10,000 in fines for
submitting incomplete and late campaign reports between 2008 and
2009. This past April, a Tallahassee mom filed a state ethics
commission complaint against Fresen. Trish Thompson alleges Fresen
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helped slip language into a charter school bill that would benefit a
charter school company called Academica that employs his sister and
brother-in-law. The complaint was recently dismissed.