IRS Bills Former Continental Trucking Executives, Not Owners

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Sep. 19, 2011 12:00 am  

The Internal Revenue Service has billed Ralph Bradbury, right, former president of Continental Express Inc., and the late Pete Campbell, former executive vice president, shown an a file photo from 2006.

“I was not involved in anything to do with the finances until after the company was sold” on Dec. 4, 2008, Jones said. “So I’m not sure how that argument holds up.”

Bradbury disputes Jones’ timeline in documents presented to the IRS. In a sworn deposition for one of the bank collection suits, Jones himself said he had been hired by the Harveys in the summer of 2008.

Jones said he didn’t know who was responsible for paying the taxes.

“I know I’m not responsible; that’s what I do know,” he said.

By the fall of 2008, Ed Harvey was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and his wife had power of attorney. Bonnie Harvey didn’t return a reporter’s message from Arkansas Business left at her Little Rock home.

The Harveys’ daughter Jill is married to U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. Pryor hasn’t been involved in the tax question, his spokesman said.

“This office, nor Sen. Pryor, has dealings with Ed Harvey’s business decisions,” said spokesman Michael Teague. “Mark Pryor has made no phone calls, no discussions, no emails, no letters, no meetings, nothing with the IRS in regards to this issue or anything Ed Harvey does.”

Bradbury’s Case

Bradbury laid out his case for not owing the payroll taxes to the IRS in a series of letters, emails and depositions.

Bradbury first joined Continental in December 1985 and helped it become one of Arkansas’ largest trucking companies. He left the firm in 1999 because of several disagreements with the Harveys.

In May 2005, Bradbury told the IRS in a letter last December, he returned to Continental to help steer it through the financial mess left by former President Kelly Wooldridge and CFO Todd Tiefel. (Tiefel, who died in March, and Wooldridge both eventually served time in federal prison for charges related to mail fraud.)

Bradbury also was dealing with a fatal accident caused by a Continental driver, which resulted in a $7.2 million settlement and $1.2 million in legal bills in 2007, Bradbury explained to the IRS. (Continental Express was self-insured.)



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