Dr. Steve Pleickhardt, the Republican nominee for Virginia’s 50th District House of Delegates’ seat, failed to pay about $295,000 in federal taxes between 2014 and 2016, and a year later filed for bankruptcy for his Bristow dental practice, according to court records.
Since then, one tax lien totaling $71,000 was withdrawn after his business, American Dental Associates, met the Internal Revenue Service’s requirements for removal. But $224,000 in tax liens remain outstanding as of last week, court documents show.
A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against a person’s property when they fail to pay a tax debt. When the IRS is trying to recover the debt, it alerts other creditors by filing a tax lien, which is a public record.
When asked about his tax liens in an August email, Pleickhardt provided this statement: “Like thousands of small business owners, my business has gone through its ups and downs. In 2014, we went through a rough patch, but we pulled ourselves up, stayed in business and kept serving our patients … In Richmond, I will work to create more resources for businesses and individuals going through financial hardships so they can get back on the right track.”
Pleickhardt did not respond to an additional request for comments about whether he has taken steps to have the rest of his federal tax liens removed.
American Dental Associates, Pleickhardt’s dental practice, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 with debts estimated between $100,001 and $500,000, according to federal court records.
The business suffered from “steadily declining revenues” and “unsatisfactory” financial management that contributed to its bankruptcy after it opened in 2007, according to a debtor's disclosure statement filed in federal court in 2018.
The dental practice’s accounting reports “ranged from inaccurate to incomprehensible” and there was “not any general strategy for the corporation to meet its financial obligations... [or] adequate tracking of expenses or financial controls,” the statement said.
The disclosure also states that the business fell behind on its lease payments in early 2016 but was able to cover its rental arrearages by “liquidating Dr. and Mrs. Pleickhardt’s children’s education savings accounts.”
The bankruptcy was closed in 2018. Federal tax liens “may continue after bankruptcy,” according to the IRS website.
Pleickhardt is a self-described fiscal conservative who wants to cut taxes in Virginia.
If elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, he would work alongside the state Senate and Virginia governor to establish and amend the state budget. The state budget signed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in 2020 totaled $135 billion.
Pleickhardt is running against Democratic nominee Michelle Maldonado. Maldonado is a former corporate attorney and the founder and CEO of the business consulting firm Luscensia. Maldonado declined to comment on Pleickhardt’s tax debt and bankruptcy filing.
The 50th District encompasses the City of Manassas and parts of western Prince William County. The seat is currently held by Del. Lee Carter (D), who lost to Maldonado in the 2021 Democratic primary on June 8.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Early voting begins Sept. 17.
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