Alford and Wheeler pay back taxes and penalties for falsely claiming homestead exemptions


ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – After Andrew Caplan at the Gainesville Sun wrote a story about whether Alachua County Commission Chair Marihelen Wheeler lived in her district and began investigating whether now-former County Commissioner Mary Alford had a similar residency problem, Alford resigned, but Wheeler has continued to serve as Commission Chair. Now they have both paid back taxes and penalties, implicitly admitting that they improperly claimed homestead exemptions while in office.

Alford paid $3,556

After Caplan’s investigation found that Alford claims a homestead exemption on a house in east Gainesville (in Cornell’s district), Alford told the Sun, “I am going through the process of what I need to do to resign from office. I realize I’m not doing the right thing, and I don’t like being a person who doesn’t do the right thing.”

Alford told the Sun she had been living in the east Gainesville property to care for a relative and that she stayed longer at the home than initially expected. Alford submitted her resignation on May 22 and paid her back taxes and penalties that same day, for a total of $3,556.14 accumulated since she was elected in 2020.

Alford also told the Sun that the address she listed on her 2020 campaign documents was a building in which she used to operate a business, but that building was sold and she had to move out. Alford told the Sun that she now lives in District 1, where she is running against Raemi Eagle-Glenn.

Wheeler paid $12,221

Wheeler, who was elected in 2018, paid back taxes and penalties going back to 2019, for a total of $12,221.10, on May 31. Caplan’s investigation found that Wheeler claimed a homestead exemption on a house in Cornell’s district, but in January of 2019, she changed her voter registration address to a house in High Springs. In 2020, she purchased a home in her district with her son, but the homestead exemption is solely in her son’s name. Wheeler told the Sun that she has a room at the property with her son, which she said she shares with a baby, and that she splits her time between the two houses.

Wheeler is running against Ed Braddy for the District 2 seat.

Falsely claiming homestead exemption is a misdemeanor

Florida Statute 179.131(2) states, “Any person who knowingly and willfully gives false information for the purpose of claiming homestead exemption as provided for in this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.” A first-degree misdemeanor may be punished by up to one year of imprisonment, according to s. 775.082.

  • It’s not like they can’t afford it with the salaries they are paid.

    What’s unknown is whether either would have stepped up if they wouldn’t have been discovered. Hats off to Alford for her prompt acknowledgement. On the other hand, hard to believe Wheeler was unaware of the requirements of the Florida Homestead Exemption. Even more difficult to believe is she let it go for so long. Intentional or ignorance?

    Either way, I have to pay my taxes – thanks to some investigative prowess, they are too.

    • It’s not unknown at all. Neither of them ever said anything until someone looked into it. Left to their own devices, they tried to get away with it. So, we absolutley know that both of them are liars and cheats. But guess what? The same idiot regressives will vote them right back into office.

        • Nope. They might call themselves “progressive,” but there is nothing positive or forward-moving about them. They take all of us backward, and so they should be referred to by what they are- regressive. You’re right about that idiot part though.

  • They were probably trying to avoid the new Property Tax hike they are planning!!! My tax notices say 10% increase! Were are triple blessed in Alachua County. Property Tax, Electric Rates, and Gas tax!!! At least we don’t have to worry about plastic straws and spoons!

  • Where are the charges against these two politicians? If they were regular, taxpaying, residents, there would already be an investigation and charges brought against them! If they don’t know where they live (as a taxpayer) then why should they be allowed to raise taxes and handle the AC funds? Vote against them in November and tell your friends too!!! Wake up Alachua County, you are being fleeced by the current AC BOCC!

    • Yes. Where are the charges? There should be some jail time up to 1 year for Wheeler for not being as forthcoming as Alford.

  • Since they both do the bidding of the UN and DC PACs, the WEF and other non-local agendas, I don’t think it matters, they thought.

    • Shouldn’t their misdemeanor crimes go before the criminal court? Why the free pass from Kramers office, is he a democrat giving a free pass to democrats? I’m kinda busy right now, can someone give Desantis a call and let him know Kramer ain’t prosecuting crimes by Dem politicians and he needs to appoint a new SA here to get tough on crime…

      • What does Mark Sexton have to say about their criminal charges?…is he still the county spokesperson?

  • Agreed! Vote them out in November. We must remember that they both voted FOR the resolution protesting against the Parental Rights In Education Bill. In other words, they both want to sexualize our kindergarteners through third grade.

    • I’ve never heard of an older lady sharing a bedroom with a baby. I guess that’s perfectly normal.

  • How do Democrats continually get away with breaking the very laws they create?

  • So why in the world do these people, Mc Fraud, Mary Alford any possibly Wheeler not have to pay back the Salary and Compensation while obtaining and being in office illegaly?
    How does this affect their votes, Like Alford voting against single member districts, tax hikes ?

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