Company President Ralph Bradbury Ruled Liable for Tax Bill

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Apr. 7, 2014 12:00 am  

Ralph Bradbury, former president of Continental Express, continues battling the IRS over unpaid payroll taxes of the Little Rock trucking firm.

In a cautionary tale for other non-owner executives, a federal judge has ruled that Ralph Bradbury, former president of the defunct Continental Express of Little Rock, is responsible for an unpaid $750,000 payroll tax bill.

Bradbury maintained that the tax bill should have gone to the owners of the trucking company, Ed and Bonnie Harvey, and their financial adviser, Marvin Jones. He said they were the ones who controlled the company during the fiscal quarter that ended Sept. 30, 2008, when the taxes were owed.

The IRS withheld some of Bradbury’s tax refund, and he sued the government in 2011 to get the money back and have the debt thrown out.

U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. ruled against Bradbury on March 24 and said he was responsible for paying the taxes.

“He also acted willfully as a matter of law in failing to pay” the payroll taxes, Marshall wrote in his 21-page summary judgment order, which means the judge decided the case before it even went to trial. A hearing is set for April 25 to determine exactly how much Bradbury owes the IRS.

Bradbury’s attorney, Randy Coleman of Little Rock, said last week that he will probably appeal the decision to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

He also will push forward with the 2011 lawsuit Bradbury filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court against the Harveys, which had been put on hold while the federal IRS case against Bradbury was pending.

Coleman also said Bradbury’s case should serve as a warning to other company executives.

“Everybody out there in the community that’s a corporate officer that doesn’t have any ownership ought to sit up and pay attention to what’s happened to Ralph in this case,” he said. “Ralph didn’t even own a pencil in the company. The ownership can leave you in a really desperate situation.”

Coleman said that, according to the IRS’s rules, Bradbury should have quit and walked out the door of Continental to avoid being legally responsible for the taxes.

“And Ralph might have done that except for the fact that the Harveys kept telling him that we’re going to take care of him and never did,” Coleman said.

Bradbury also said he wasn’t happy with the way the ruling was reached.



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