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2015 Video Shows Paul Battisti Against Candidates Owing Back Taxes, Now He Is Running For DA While Owing $86K To IRS

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Preston's lawyer Paul Battisti talks to reporters on Oct. 10 Preston's lawyer Paul Battisti talks to reporters on Oct. 10

Broome County District Attorney candidate Paul Battisti owes the IRS $86,000, but, back in 2015, Battisti stood with a group of local lawyers who said current DA Steve Cornwell shouldn't be elected because he owed back taxes. 

In the video below, Battisti can be seen over attorney Tom Jackson's shoulder, nodding his head while Jackson says "fiscal responsibility is an important part of being DA" and “We feel that the District Attorney of Broome County should not have unsatisfied tax liens pending.”  

Nearly four years after that video was taken, Tom Jackson attended Battisti's campaign announcement, with Battisti now the candidate with two federal tax liens pending, according to Broome County Clerk records. Jackson could not be reached for comment and Battisti referred back to the written statements he sent Fox 40 on Saturday. 

“The viewers can go to the YouTube video and see for themselves. I don’t know what it sounds like to everybody else, but to me it sounds like another politician changing their stance to make the facts fit where they want to be," says Michael Korchak, the current Chief Assistant District Attorney who is running against Battisti for the DA position.

There is no law saying a candidate can't run while owing money to the government. Cornwell did pay back those taxes, which totaled around $9,000, and, in his statement from two days ago, Battisti says he's doing the same. 

Like many business owners, I opted to enter into a payment plan for my taxes. I make monthly payments on a set schedule.

— Paul Battisti, Broome County District Attorney Candidate

“As a business owner myself at one time when I ran my own law firm. I never incurred debt," says Korchak, "We paid our taxes quarterly to the federal government as any business does and it is an insult to the business owners of Broome County to say that incurring this kind of debt is a common practice."

The New York State Board of Elections Financial Disclosure Report for Battisti's campaign shows a loan of $50,000 listed as coming from himself. 

“If it’s his personal money why didn’t it go towards his taxes?” asks Korchak, "And if it's not, he needs to disclose where it's coming from."

Korchak specifically wanted to respond to this part of Battisti's Saturday statement: “Korchak should know that these types of payment plans are common for business owners. In fact, public records showed that his boss, the current District Attorney Steve Cornwell, did the same thing."

On Monday, Korchak responded: "I'm Mike Korchak. I'm not Steve Cornwell. I'm the one running for District Attorney and I don't have any federal tax liens."

Both Battisti and Korchak are republicans and will be facing off in a June primary. Battisti was the first to throw his name into the race, doing so just hours after Steve Cornwell told the media he would not be seeking re-election. 

Again, Battisti declined to comment on that video or the campaign contribution, sticking to what he already said over the weekend.