Republican rival makes waves over Russ Carnahan’s 42-foot boat

April 21, 2010

Does Republican Ed Martin smell blood in the water? Or is he fishing for ways to sink his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan?

Last week, Martin sent out a release accusing Carnahan of attempting to dodge taxes by parking his boat across the river in Illinois.

If the vessel — a 42-foot Chris Craft cruiser — were docked in Missouri, Carnahan could owe property taxes on the boat. But, because it’s docked at the Alton Marina, Missouri property taxes are not a concern.

“This is the worst of what Washington D.C. insiders do: they ask us to pay taxes and abide by their rules and then they do whatever they want,” Martin said in a statement released by his campaign. “Congressman Carnahan spends our money recklessly and votes for tax increases like Obamacare and cap and trade. Then they hear he is being shady and playing hide-and-seek with his 42-foot yacht to avoid paying Missouri taxes –the very state he is supposed to be representing.”

What Martin’s release does not say is that Alton Marina, near the foot of the Clark Bridge on the Mississippi River, is one of, if not the closest, marinas suitable to park a boat the size of Carnahan’s.

Still, this is not the first time Carnahan’s river cruiser has raised questions. In 2004, Carnahan — than a state legislator running for Congress — was fined $79 for not registering the boat.

At the time, Carnahan said he was testing the boat engine’s when he was cited by the Missouri Water Patrol.

The boat, however, is still not registered. Its Coast Guard registration expired in 2008. According to the state Conservation Police, the boat is not registered in Illinois, either, which is required for vessels in state waters for two months out of the year.

According to state records, the co-owner of the boat is St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, who, like Carnahan, lives in the city’s Compton Heights neighborhood.

Carnahan’s new campaign manager, Angela Barranco, said the reason the boat — built in 1968 — is not registered is because it is currently inoperable.

Speaking about the tax-dodging accusation from Martin, an attorney, Barranco said, “This is just another baseless complaint from the king of nuisance lawsuits.”

It’s an appropriate choice of words — according to Coast Guard records, the name of the boat is “Attractive Nuisance,” the legal term for a potential hazard that is too inviting to pass up.

The condition, however, usually only applies to children.

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