D.C. delegate candidate Eleanor Holmes Norton announced last night that she and her husband plan to pay the District government Monday at least $25,000 in delinquent income taxes and penalties owed to the city.
Norton, a Georgetown University law professor who has been leading in the polls in the race to succeed D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy, made the announcement after The Washington Post and other media organizations made inquiries. The Post obtained a D.C. government document yesterday that indicates that Norton and her husband, Edward, failed to pay $10,755 in income taxes due in 1982.
The document -- a certificate of delinquent tax -- indicates that, with interest and penalties, the Nortons owed $25,381.80 to the government as of Jan. 18, 1989.
In a statement released by her campaign, Norton said that she was unaware of the delinquency and that her husband "handles all of the family finances, including taxes."
"I was appalled to learn of delinquent District taxes owed jointly by my husband and me since 1982," Norton, a Democrat, said in the statement. "I take full responsibility for this matter, which I should have monitored personally. The taxes will be paid on this coming Monday, September 10."
The campaign also released a statement by Edward Norton, a lawyer and former chairman of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, who said he must "take full responsibility for the delinquency in taxes owed the District by my wife, Eleanor, and me."
He said the delinquency "has resulted from procrastination, not cash shortfall, and without the knowledge of my wife."
A Norton campaign aide who did not want to be identified said last night that Edward Norton has been in a dispute with the D.C. government over the exact size of the tax bill. "It was never resolved," the aide said.
One of Norton's leading rivals, Betty Ann Kane, said she was shocked to learn of the delinquent taxes. "The last thing we need is another person without personal integrity representing us in Congress," Kane said. "It really does smack of Marion Barry to me."
Also, the Associated Press reported that Norton paid $6,050 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former housekeeper in 1980.
The lawsuit was brought when Norton was chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The housekeeper, Margaret Taylor, accused Norton of verbally abusing her and said she and Norton's husband failed to make legally required unemployment compensation payments. She asked for nearly $19,000 in compensation.
In an interview with The Post Thursday, Norton described the lawsuit as frivolous and said it was settled for a "small amount."
In an unrelated development in the delegate's race, Joseph P. Yeldell, a former Barry administration aide, received the endorsement of the D.C. Black Police Caucus, which represents 350 police officers.
The Democratic primary takes place on Tuesday.