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Missouri lawyer, who is self-funding medical pot effort, landed in tax collectors' crosshairs

Missouri lawyer, who is self-funding medical pot effort, landed in tax collectors' crosshairs

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JEFFERSON CITY • At the same time he was self-funding his quest to legalize medical marijuana, Springfield trial lawyer and physician Dr. Brad Bradshaw landed in trouble with tax collectors, according to two tax liens obtained by the Post-Dispatch.

The first lien, dated Nov. 3, 2017, from the Missouri Department of Revenue, says Bradshaw and his wife, Brenda Anderson-Bradshaw, owed the state $88,166 in unpaid income taxes, interest and other fees dating to the 2015 filing period.

A second lien dated April 20, 2018, says that Bradshaw’s company — Brad Bradshaw MD JD LC — owed the federal government $31,375 in unpaid taxes.

Bradshaw is backing Amendment 3, which is one of three competing medical marijuana proposals appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot.

In a letter to the Post-Dispatch on Monday, Bradshaw’s attorney, Kevin J. Kerr, blamed the state tax lien on a “mistake” by Bradshaw’s former accountant, who is unnamed in the letter.

“Dr. Bradshaw has state tax liabilities that were assessed against him as the result of mistakes by his former accountant,” the letter says. “Dr. Bradshaw has terminated that accountant, retained a new accountant, and is in a payment plan with the Missouri Department of Revenue to resolve the liability.”

Kerr said he is reviewing the bill, however, and may dispute it with the state. Kerr said the federal tax lien was a result of the IRS “misapplying the corporate payroll payment.” He said the payment “has since been moved” and that the IRS “should have a lien release within the next twenty days.”

Kerr could not immediately be reached for follow-up questions on Monday. Bradshaw said the IRS “screwed up” and “misapplied” a payment that had already been made to the agency.

Since January 2016, Bradshaw has reported loaning his medical marijuana campaign about $1.56 million; he has also donated to the effort. Bradshaw said the loans probably won’t be repaid after the November election.

According to his campaign filings, the loans carry a 1 percent annual interest rate, and the campaign was more than $1.6 million in debt as of July.

Bradshaw’s initiative, Amendment 3, would impose a 15 percent tax on retail sales of medical marijuana.

Taxes raised would go toward a state research institute, and researchers would study cancer and other diseases, according to the initiative text. According to the state’s fair ballot language, Bradshaw would be in charge of choosing the members of a board overseeing the research institute.

In August, Bradshaw tried to torpedo two other medical marijuana efforts in Cole County Circuit Court. He failed.

Bradshaw and the group New Approach Missouri (Amendment 2) have both proposed constitutional amendments. If both pass, the measure with the most support will take effect.

A third effort, Proposition C, backed by Missourians for Patient Care, is a statutory change. The only way it would take effect in full is if it won more than 50 percent of the vote and the two constitutional amendments failed.

If Proposition C and a constitutional change both net at least 50 percent of the vote, the courts would likely decide whether any nonconflicting language takes effect, election officials have said.

Bradshaw’s proposal carries the highest retail tax of the three proposals at 15 percent.

Last week, New Approach Missouri sent out a news release that said Bradshaw’s 15 percent retail tax, and additional wholesale tax, would price patients out of the market.

Amendment 2 imposes a 4 percent retail tax; the proceeds are earmarked for veterans’ health services.

“Amendment 3 is exploiting patients with serious and life-changing diagnosis, like cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, who are seeking this treatment to ease the pain and suffering from their symptoms,” Jack Cardetti, spokesman for Amendment 2, said in a statement.

Bradshaw said that’s not the case.

“I’m trying to find cures for these diseases,” Bradshaw said. “I’m not exploiting anybody. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’m trying to save lives.”

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