A Republican state House candidate in west Pierce County is being attacked for supposedly not paying his bills and running a company that defaulted on a $43 million loan.
The claim: A TV ad claims that Paul Wagemann, a Clover Park School Board member, didn’t pay his bills “even when sued.” Print mailers attacking Wagemann say “his own company” was sued and defaulted on a $43 million loan.
The ads circulating in Pierce County’s 28th Legislative District are paid for by the Pierce County Opportunity PAC, a group whose top donors include House Democrats and labor unions.
The facts: The ads attacking Wagemann reference a lawsuit against the Commencement Group, a limited liability company that took out a $43 million loan to build a condominium project in Ruston and failed to make necessary payments.
Wagemann did have a role in the Commencement Group, albeit a small one. A company he co-owns was one of six members listed on the Commencement Group’s LLC registration, and Wagemann is listed as the company’s agent or representative.
But Wagemann, who lives in Lakewood, said he wasn’t in charge of the company and didn’t manage its day-to-day affairs.
Loan documents back up Wagemann’s claims. The documents show six people were named as guarantors on the Commencement Group’s $43 million loan; Wagemann wasn’t among them.
Two other members of the limited liability company signed the loan paperwork and were listed as managers of the company in financial documents provided to the court.
Wagemann said his membership in the limited liability company only indicated that — had the project made money —he would have gotten a share of the profits.
Conclusion: False. Wagemann wasn’t financially liable for the loan referenced in the ads.
Wagemann’s opponent is also being grilled in attack ads this week. Mailers attacking Democratic candidate Christine Kilduff tell voters she “wants to raise your taxes.”
The claim: The ads say that Christine Kilduff said her “first step” in office will be to raise taxes. The mailers, paid for by House Republicans’ political action committee, cite an Oct. 6 article from The News Tribune as their source.
In that article, Kilduff discussed how to meet a state Supreme Court order to increase funding for basic education — something legislators estimate will require adding at least $3 billion to the state budget. Kilduff said that to help get there, she thinks ending certain corporate tax exemptions would be a good place to start.
The full excerpt from the article reads:
“Kilduff thinks the Legislature needs to look at closing corporate tax loopholes as a first step toward raising the money needed to satisfy the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling. She said some new kind of tax revenue may be necessary to ensure the Legislature can fully fund education as well as pay for other legal obligations, such as treating mentally ill criminal offenders.”
Conclusion: Half-true. Kilduff is more inclined to support tax increases than Wagemann, her opponent, but the “first step” reference was taken out of context. She was talking specifically about how to meet the demands of a court ruling, and was talking about ending tax exemptions for certain industries —not necessarily raising taxes on the general population.