| Columns |

Rep. Erik Fresen, Pro-Gambling Lawmaker, Owes Thousands To The IRS

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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

disclosure statements.

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

Mayor Corina

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

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.

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