Sunnyside district leader owes more in back taxes

2013-12-18T00:00:00Z 2014-01-24T15:13:14Z Sunnyside district leader owes more in back taxesBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Sunnyside Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo owes almost $57,000 in federal taxes, adding to the list of financial woes he has experienced since he arrived in Tucson.

Isquierdo and his wife are listed on a notice of federal tax lien that was prepared and signed Nov. 5 before it was filed with the Pima County Recorder’s Office more than a week later.

According to the notice, the superintendent owes $56,993, including penalties and interest, for 2012.

Isquierdo said he planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would allow him to restructure his debt with the intention of repaying over time.

The tax lien will be part of the restructured debt, he said.

Isquierdo also owes more than $150,000 in unpaid taxes for 2011 and 2012.

The state of California filed a lien of nearly $18,000 against the couple in 2009, but the debt was paid off.

The most recent tax lien was a result of unpaid income taxes, but Isquierdo wouldn’t elaborate, other than to say he’s disputing the amount of money owed.

This isn’t the first time Isquierdo has looked to file for bankruptcy.

In May, Isquierdo filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to prevent foreclosure on his Oro Valley home after the value of the house depreciated and he couldn’t refinance because of the 2011 and 2012 tax liens.

Isquierdo stopped pursuing the bankruptcy later in the summer because the house was sold and he couldn’t claim it as debt.

He is now renting a $1 million home that is about 3,400 square feet in size with a 1,700-square-foot guesthouse in the Catalina Foothills area, according to records from the Pima County Assessor and recorder’s offices.

Isquierdo is paid $237,500 year in total compensation to run the Sunnyside Unified School District, Tucson’s second largest district.

In recent years, he’s also had to repay thousands of dollars for questionable charges on a district credit card, and his driver’s license was suspended at one point for unpaid fines and failure to appear in court.

The superintendent’s financial problems have drawn the ire of many Sunnyside residents who have called for his resignation.

The issues caused him to withdraw his candidacy for a superintendent’s job in San Antonio earlier this year.

His legal and financial issues have also divided the district’s Governing Board members, with some staunchly supporting Isquierdo, whom they credit with increasing the district’s graduation rate and access to technology, and other members opposing his leadership.

The rift spurred an effort by community leaders to recall two board members, Louie Gonzales and Bobby Garcia, who voted to extend Isquierdo’s contract in June for an additional two years.

Board member Eva Carrillo Dong also approved the contract extension.

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