NEW YORK CITY — Paul Massey, the real estate executive who formally launched a run for mayor last week, was a tax deadbeat for years who owed the IRS more than $4 million, records show.
From 2009 to 2013, the Internal Revenue Service hit Massey and his wife with three federal tax liens totaling $4.1 million, according to records filed with Westchester County Clerk.
Massey didn't pay off the massive debt to Uncle Sam until March 2015 — a few months after he sold Massey Knakal, the real estate brokerage firm he founded, for $100 million to Cushman & Wakefield.
Bill O'Reilly, a spokesman for Masey's 2017 mayoral campaign, said the tax problems came out of the real estate collapse in 2008.
"Paul got hit hard in the 2008-'09 recession when business came to a virtual standstill, and he made no secret of it," O'Reilly said. "That was a frightening time for a lot of people. Paul set up an installment plan with the IRS and paid everything off earlier than scheduled, with full penalties and interest. It was a humbling experience and quite a life lesson."
The IRS filed a federal tax lien against Massey and his wife, Gretchen, in May 2009, saying they had not paid $1.94 million in taxes for the 2007 filing year. The agency filed another lien against the couple in May 2012 for not paying $774,328 in taxes for the 2010 filing year. And in December 2013, the IRS slapped them with a lien for $1.38 million for the 2012 filing year.
Those debts were not completely settled until March 18, 2015.
Records show that the IRS also filed a tax lien against Massey and wife in 1999, stating they owed $62,258 to the federal government. No public record shows this debt was satisfied.
However, O'Reilly said Massey is completely square with the IRS.
Last week Massey filed paperwork with the state Board of Elections to set up his campaign for the 2017 race.
The millionaire Republican, who has homes in the city, Larchmont, N.Y., and in Massachusetts, said he plans to opt out of the city Campaign Finance Board's matching funds program and use his own money and donations to underwrite his campaign.
In a statement last week announcing his run, Massey knocked the "Tale of Two Cities" theme Mayor Bill de Blasio used in his 2013 campaign.
“This is not a 'Tale of Two Cities;' this is the world’s greatest city and diversity is our strength,” Massey said.