When Government Becomes Criminal

I recently received a letter from the city of Xenia informing me that I overpaid my income tax to the city for 2009. It was nice of them to inform me and be honest about my mistake; but no refund check was included, and there was no indication of when the surplus amount would be refunded to me.

The letter simply stated that my overpayment would be applied to the next year's tax filing…I guess in case of under-payment on my part, the City of Xenia is holding my 2009 over-payment as collateral, as an interest-free loan.

The irony; and to think that this is not even considered a “crime.”

The City of Xenia officials were really quick to punish me in 2003 when I did not file my income tax form in a timely manner.  Of course, everyone knows that there is a big difference between not paying your taxes and not filing paperwork explaining your income.  Everyone living in Xenia has income taxes deducted by his or her employer, with those deductions being in turn deposited to the city of Xenia.  Sure, the law requires you to file a return, but the city is in fact getting your taxes regardless of you sending in your paperwork.  My swift punishment for the late filing was a late fee of $25.

One cannot help but ask the question: if the City is quick to slap a $25 late-filing fee on a resident, who gets to slap a fee on the city of Xenia for not refunding a resident’s overpayment of taxes?  And what do we usually call someone who takes another person’s property without his permission?  A criminal.

But Xenia’s bureaucrats’ incompetence does not stop here.  In November 2005, my family moved to Fairborn, while our house in Xenia continued to stay empty and be on the market for nearly one year.  The house finally sold in June 2006, however the Xenia Law Director insisted that I pay income tax to the city for the first six months of 2006.  Never mind I was not a resident of Xenia in 2006, I was assured that I will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law should I refuse to pay up; it was blackmail at its best.

I refused.

The Xenia Municipal Court found me “guilty of failing to file tax return.”  But this is not the end of the story.

During the recent primary election, many city employees, specifically police officers, have taken time on weekends and evenings to canvass neighborhoods with flyers, attempting to facilitate the passage of Issue 7, the 28.5% income tax increase.  Many of them informed residents of Xenia that the opposition to Issue 7 is being led by a guy “who doesn’t pay his taxes.”  Amazing?  You bet.  These are Xenia employees, police officers that are suppose to earn the respect of the general public, and behave in a professional and respectful manner.

But besides their behavior towards political enemies, I am interested in knowing why someone “who doesn’t pay his taxes” is walking the streets of Xenia free?  Or is this even more evidence of Xenia’s incompetence to prosecute and jail tax dodgers? After all, should I not be behind bars in the City jail somewhere?

The behavior of Xenia officials is criminal on several levels.  City officials have colluded to commit fraud, they’ve misappropriated public funds totaling over $30,000 and spent them on electioneering and consultants who failed to deliver on their promise to pass a levy.  And now they are keeping overpayments on income taxes from residents without offering a refund or without being prosecuted by the county or by the state of Ohio.  There seems to be little oversight from the City Council, and those running the city of Xenia seem to be having free reign over the city to do as they wish. 

A few weeks ago the City announced that they would honor the result of the vote on the levy, and listen to the voices of residents.  The residents spoke and voted against a tax levy.  Just two weeks later the city is already discussing placing the levy on the ballot again in November.

Nothing is sacred in Xenia anymore; there is disrespect for residents, broken promises and rampant incompetence. 

Some call it Xenia City government; I call it a criminal enterprise.


Unfortunately, the problems you describe are not just local to Xenia; they are practically everywhere in the US. The people have lost the concept of the rule of law, so they don't notice when their own governments are breaking the law. Nor do they seem to care much.

I've been searching, and one thing I cannot find. Sure, you can name a town that's known for its art, or its music, or its antiques. You can even name some cities that are known for their geographic beauty or their history. But can anyone name a town in the US that is known for having a just and uncorrupted government?

Jack Pelham