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Brenda Council Under Fire For Late And Unpaid Taxes

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Leah Uko

OMAHA (KPTM) – Tax problems are now plaguing the already beleaguered re-election campaign for State Senator Brenda Council.

The Douglas County Assessor's Office shows payment issues on five properties Brenda and Otha Council own.

A total of  $5,910.06 was paid on the Council's property at 1615 Wirt Street, which is listed under Otha and a town home on 2001 Florence Mills Plaza, which is listed under "Warren"—Brenda's maiden name. Both payments were late.

Other properties include:

A house at 2420 Pinkney Street, listed under Warren, has had no payment since 2008.

A vacant lot at 2411 Pinkney Street, listed under Otha, has had no payment since 2010.

A house at 3465 Grand Avenue, listed under Otha, has had no payment since 2011.

While everyone who attended Sunday night's candidate forum at the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) Teacher Administrative Center (TAC) building, greeted each other with smiles and laughs, State Senator Brenda Council reviewed her notes.

"The fact that I'm dealing with some personal issues will not, in any way, distract me from the work that needs to be done in this district," said Council before the forum.

Council defended herself and said her husband, Otha Council manages their properties on Wirt Street, 2411 Pinkney Street and Grand Avenue.

For the properties she manages at Florence Mills Plaza and 2420 Pinkney Street, Council said going from a six-figure salary to $12,000 made it difficult to make payments.

Some of Council's supporters in District 11 said this is not an excuse.

"[She] were still making money," said Michael Jones. "Regardless of the decrease or the increase. Pay your bills, because you should be able to manage your money, as well as you can make your money."

If Council is re-elected what changes?

Her husband will still manage some of these properties and she will still make this salary.

"I have no doubt that we will address our financial issues," said Council. "We will make our timely payments on all our obligations."

Many voters in District 11 don't care about any of Council's recent controversies.

"That has no reflection on what she does in the community," said Mark McClarty. "I feel like she's a strong leader and she speaks for the people. So that's why [I'm] supporting her."

Write In candidate Susan Smith was not invited to the forum hosted by the Urban League of Nebraska, Omaha Together One Community (OTOC), Empowerment Network, North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance (NONA) and Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA).

She did, however, rally outside the OPS TAC building.

Smith said, in reference to Council's tax situation, that Council shows signs of "a level of denial" and a "serious cloud of judgment".

Ernie Chambers was invited to the forum, but did not attend because he "does not want to sit next to a criminal"—referring to Council.

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