Electronic tax

District Judge Candidate Recognizes 2018 Tax Lien

Jennifer J. Wernersbach

An Albuquerque district judge participating in a Democratic primary admitted that she had been the subject of a state tax lien after stating otherwise on a Journal questionnaire.

Judge Jennifer Wernersbach said Monday she did not recall receiving the lien demanding payment of $1,240 for unpaid taxes from the 2016 filing period.

Wernersbach faces challenger Emeterio Rudolfo for the 2nd Division seat in Judicial District Court 16 in the June 7 Democratic primary.

In a questionnaire, the Journal asks all candidates for elected office, “Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been subject to any state or federal tax liens?” Wernersbach replied “No”. However, she admitted to having been involved in personal or commercial bankruptcy proceedings.

Rudolfo’s campaign manager, Victor Lopez, sent the Journal a 2018 tax lien notice addressed to Wernersbach and her husband, Matthew Huggins.

The notice, dated Nov. 11, 2018, said the couple owed $985 for the 2016 personal tax filing season, plus penalty and interest totaling $1,240.63.

Online records show the lien was released in April 2020.

Wernersbach said Monday she did not recall receiving the privilege but did not deny its authenticity.

“Honestly, I don’t remember this particular document in any way,” Wernersbach said in a phone interview.

“It completely surprises me,” she said. “I know I owed taxes at one point, but I don’t remember having a lien.”

Wernersbach said she was unable to reach her accountant on Monday to ask about the lien.

Rudolfo acknowledged in his own Journal questionnaire that “I had tax privileges many years ago. They have been resolved.

Rudolfo said on Monday he found Wernersbach’s response “hard to believe” given that she satisfied the privilege less than two years ago.

“Anyone who had a tax lien does not forget,” Rudolfo said in an email. “It’s about character, transparency in government and rebuilding people’s trust in the justice system.”