PARKERSBURG – A disbarred Wood County attorney received a small victory recently on the issue that resulted in the loss of his license – unpaid taxes.
The state Tax Department reached an agreement with Richard A. Hayhurst on June 8 to garnish $400 a month from his paycheck to begin paying down his tax bill. The agreement called for his current employer, Hawkeye Research, Inc. in Harrisville, to remit the Department $200 each pay period, and keep any refunds in an effort to cure an $87,800 arrearage.
The agreement came following an injunction Hayhurst, 63, filed on May 30 in Wood Circuit Court to stop the Department from going forward with the garnishment. In his petition, Hayhurst said the nearly $1,000 the Department wanted to garnish from him monthly "would deprive [him] of exemptions allowed by law and of the ability to pay the sums he has been obligated and ordered to pay the United States Treasury under the aforesaid order of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia."
In November 2009, Hayhurst plead guilty to one count of willful failure to collect and pay over taxes. The charge stemmed from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service that Hayhurst failed to pay taxes totaling $405,000 for three years.
The amount included $8,792.53 in withholding taxes from his former employees of his law firm during the fourth quarter of 2003.
Because he had a prior conviction for tax evasion in 1996, U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston on April 14, 2010, ordered Hayhurst to serve 21 months in prison. Upon his release, Hayhurst was to be placed on supervised release and, as a special condition, pay $500 a month to the IRS.
As a result of his conviction, the state Supreme Court first suspended Hayhurst in June 2010, and then ordered his disbarment in January 2011.
Records show the agreement came following a June 7 hearing before Wood Circuit Judge J.D. Beane, who granted Hayhurst's motion for a temporary injunction. The agreement stipulated that the $400 would first be applied to principal, and then interest and penalties, and the amount could be reconsidered "in the event that Mr. Hayhurst's final situation changes in the future."
Wood Circuit Court case number 12-C-227