D.A.’s Office: Tax Woes Won’t Impact New No. 2’s Hire

Tariq El-Shabazz has been hit with numerous federal tax liens in recent years.
District Attorney Seth Williams announces the appointment of Tariq El-Shabazz (right) as his first assistant.

District Attorney Seth Williams announces the appointment of Tariq El-Shabazz (right) as his first assistant.

The D.A.’s Office announced a big hire last week: Veteran defense attorney Tariq El-Shabazz is being brought in to serve as deputy for investigations, and take over the job of first assistant district attorney when the current first assistant, George Mosee Jr., retires in December.

During a press conference to announce El-Shabazz’s appointment, District Attorney Seth Williams praised El-Shabazz as an “outspoken voice for justice.” Williams also described El-Shabazz as someone he’s leaned on for advice ever since the death last fall of Williams’s longtime mentor, former local NAACP leader J. Whyatt Mondesire.

But some sources within law enforcement circles quickly began to grumble about the hiring. As the website Philadelinquency first reported, El-Shabazz has been hit with a plethora of significant tax liens in recent years, and the landlord of his Broad Street office sought in March to have El-Shabazz evicted, citing more than $27,000 in unpaid rent .

The city’s human resources guidelines require any civil service hire to be current on debts and taxes that he or she owes the city: “As a condition of employment with the City, any person offered employment on or after the effective date of this regulation shall be required to certify that such person either is fully current on any and all debts, taxes, fees, judgments, claims, and other accounts and obligations due and owing to the City; or has voluntarily entered into a payment agreement with the City.”

It’s unclear how federal tax liens figure into that equation.

Williams’s spokesman, Cameron Kline, released the following statement:

“Mr. El-Shabazz disclosed his taxes and liens before the District Attorney offered him the Deputy position. The DA is confident in his hiring decision and that these matters will have no impact on his service in the District Attorney’s Office. Beyond that, the office has no further comment on what is a personal matter.”

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