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GOP HOPEFUL, DOGGED BY PAST BANKRUPTCY, IS NOW MILLIONAIRE

SHARE GOP HOPEFUL, DOGGED BY PAST BANKRUPTCY, IS NOW MILLIONAIRE

While Republican John Harmer's past bankruptcy and loan defaults have been issues in the 3rd District congressional race, his House disclosure form and his campaign chairman say he's now a multimillionaire.

However, the Internal Revenue Service says Harmer owes back personal income taxes of more than $327,000. Harmer disputes those taxes, saying they're owed by a company he was formerly involved in and he has no personal obligation to pay. Since the Utah Tax Commission routinely assesses taxes owed as part of IRS decisions, the state says Harmer owes it as well.The good news for Harmer on his U.S. House forms is that he lists assets, not including his home, of $9.5 million and debts of $2.5 million - for a net worth of $7 million.

On the down side, though, the IRS says Harmer owes considerable personal income tax from 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987 and 1988. The unpaid taxes range from $383.65 in 1979 to $87,257.22 in 1983. With penalties included, the IRS says Harmer owes $327,551.32.

Harmer's campaign chairman, Mickey Cochran, said the taxes are actually for a company with which Harmer was associated. He said Harmer contends he is not personally liable for the company taxes, "but he's the one with deep pockets so he was the one sued."

Cochran said more details, including the name of the company involved, are unavailable until Thursday, when Harmer will be available for interviews on the topic.

Harmer's financial disclosure form was just made available by the House clerk after weeks of it either being misplaced or not having been filed by the May 15 deadline.

Harmer says he filed the form on time, but the House clerk's office said it never received it. After inquiries by the Deseret News, Harmer filed a duplicate that the House received June 21 and recently made available after microfilming it.

The broad disclosure ranges on Harmer's form showed his overall assets to be between $800,000-$850,000 "or more," and his debts to be between $945,000-$1.3 million "or more."

But Cochran volunteered that Harmer's assets are worth $9.5 million and his debts are $2.5 million.

Among Harmer's assets are 958,000 shares of stock in the computer software company Eyring Inc., valued at $7.5 million. Harmer is Eyring's board chairman. Eyring also paid him a salary in 1989 of $87,875.

Other assets include $750,000 worth of stock in the filmmaking company Jande Inc., a note due to Harmer from Eyring for between $5,001 and $15,000, and a loan due from Jande worth more than $250,000.

Early in the campaign, documents from Harmer's past Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings were leaked to the press anonymously - which Harmer called a cheap shot. He said he has owned up to his mistakes and paid off old debts.

But information from those proceedings also shows how Harmer's net worth has grown through the years.

Harmer's 1974 financial statement listed his net worth at $754,750, while a second statement, dated Aug. 10, 1976, listed his net worth as $353,000. During the bankruptcy trial in 1984, Harmer said his assets had dropped to $189,000. Liens against his house at that time totaled $115,000, dropping his net worth to $74,000.

Six years later, his net worth is now $7 million, not including his personal home, according to Cochran.

Harmer's opponent for the Republican nomination is Karl Snow, whose disclosure forms filed in May shows his 1989 income was $81,178 to $88,677, his assets (other than his personal home) were $210,006 to $455,000 and his debts were $50,001 to $100,000.

The Democratic nominee in the race is Bill Orton, whose disclosure forms show he had a 1989 income of $258,300 to $278,299, assets (other than his personal home) of $820,008 to $1.27 million or more and debts of $150,002 to $350,000.