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.

“I had spent three years of awaiting it and a substantial portion of my net worth fighting and developing my case, and to have it decided in a summary judgment order was disappointing,” he said.

Coleman said he doesn’t know why the IRS didn’t target the Harveys to collect the tax money. The IRS doesn’t have to disclose that information, he said.

The attorney for the IRS, Erin Lindgren of Washington, D.C., didn’t return a call for comment.

The Case

The IRS said Bradbury was responsible for making sure the payroll tax withholdings were paid to the government. Bradbury, though, maintained that Bonnie Harvey repeatedly promised in 2008 to recapitalize the company but never did. And Bradbury said that Jones, the Harveys’ consultant, told him the taxes would be paid.

In November 2008, Jones and Bonnie Harvey told Bradbury that they had found a buyer for Continental. The Celadon Group Inc. of Indianapolis bought the trucking company’s assets for $24.1 million but didn’t assume any of the company’s debts. The sale closed on Dec. 4, 2008.

Bradbury lobbied to have the taxes paid, but they weren’t.

The Harveys “knew the payroll taxes were owed,” Coleman said last week. “They reached the decision to sell the company out from under [Bradbury] and apply the sales proceeds and the remaining assets of the company like they wanted to apply them irrespective of what Ralph’s wishes were.”

The IRS argued that Bradbury’s surrounding circumstances were immaterial: “because Bradbury was a responsible person during the third quarter; and because he knew other bills were being paid then, but the withholdings were not.”

Coleman said that Bonnie Harvey testified in her deposition that she loved Bradbury like a son.

“If Bonnie Harvey loved him like a son, I can’t figure out why in the world she would leave him holding the bag,” Coleman said.

Ed Harvey is in frail health, and Bonnie Harvey couldn’t be reached for comment. She is the mother of Jill Pryor, ex-wife of U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

Ralph Bradbury’s daughter, Rachel Bradbury, is a publisher for Arkansas Business Publishing Group, the parent company of Arkansas Business.



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