Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Joe the Plumber' a Fraud

Before I became a caregiver I was a businessman. So as I sat there last night listening to McCain and Obama talk about "Joe the Plumber" I was thinking to myself, how lucky is this guy? I was figuring each time they mentioned him he was getting a couple of million dollars of free advertising. By the end I figured Joe had received somewhere between $5-$10 million of free advertising. I thought to myself, this guy is going to have more business than he will ever be able to handle. Turns out Joe is Sam, he is not a plumber, and he hasn't paid his taxes. He isn't even from Ohio.

Call him Samuel the unlicensed plumber, tax cheat

A couple of things about Joe the Plumber, the icon of the authentic working-class voter who was declared the ''winner" of the final presidential debate.

His first name isn't really Joe. It's Samuel.

He's not really a plumber - at least, not a licensed one.

He's concerned about increased taxes - but hasn't paid his own income taxes.

And, he's not exactly just a guy from Ohio.

He's lived in Arizona ... and Alaska.

And as for that "unscripted" moment that ended up on Fox News, the one at a rally where he questioned Sen. Barack Obama about the American Dream - and whether he'd have to pay higher taxes under Obama's plan?

Seems Joe told the conservative Web site that catching the Democratic presidential candidate off guard "was actually my intent."

"Looks like there's a crack in Joe the Plumber's story," cracked Bob Mulholland, the Democratic party activist and adviser, after some of the details of the life of 34-year-old Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber, emerged today.

In an election that has starred all sorts of celebrities - remember Paris Hilton? Britney Spears? - Wurzelbacher got his 15 minutes of fame after being referenced 26 times during Wednesday's presidential debate, 21 times by Sen. John McCain.

Today, McCain even happily declared "Joe the Plumber" to be "the winner" of the debate.

Not so fast.

"Joe the Plumber's story sprang a few leaks Thursday," crowed an Associated Press story.

That's after the AP, bloggers, investigators and librarians - and The Chronicle - turned up court documents and birth records.

For one, Joe's expressed concern about paying more taxes looked a bit tarnished with the revelation that he owes Ohio about $1,200 in personal income taxes that he hasn't paid, according to the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records. (And there's a 2007 civil filing shows a record for a $1,200 owed to a creditor, St. Charles Mercy Hospital.)

So Joe has an active lien on his property filed in January 2007, records from the Ohio Department of Taxation show.

The Toledo Blade, examining Lucas County Building Inspection records, reported that his employer, the A.W. Newell Corp., "does maintain a state plumbing license, and one with the City of Toledo, but would not be allowed to work in Lucas County outside of Toledo without a county license."

"Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell's license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work," the newspaper said. "He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio - which means he's not a plumber."

What else did Americans learn about average Joe this week?

Among the factoids gleaned from state and county records:

-- He is registered as a Republican, and voted in the state's GOP primary in March, county elections records show. But he was previously registered, dating back to 2007, in the Natural Law Party.

-- He has lived in McCain's home state - in both Mesa and Tucson, Ariz.

-- He lived in GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's home state - in North Pole, Alaska, from September 1992 to July 1993.

And as comic Bill Maher pointed out, in his 15 minutes of fame, Joe the Plumber has already done more interviews than Palin.

E-mail Carla Marinucci at

No comments:

Post a Comment