State Senate candidate defends his personal life, decisions
LACONIA - Republican state Senate candidate Josh Youssef said he has had a hard time getting out his message on issues in the campaign because of accusations from his ex-wife's attorney.
Youssef, 36, of Laconia, considers himself a fiscal conservative. He believes government's role is to be 'a referee, not a player,' and that the job of lawmakers is to reduce regulations and taxes that hinder economic growth.
He said he would both work to 'repair a broken education system' and look at options for property tax relief. However, all these messages have been lost in the 'junk news' related to his divorce, he said.
Youssef said Ed Mosca, his ex-wife's attorney, has violated court rules of privacy and has intentionally misrepresented the candidate's views.
The Laconia entrepreneur called 'absolutely false' allegations he is behind on child support, in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service and intentionally confused Franklin voters during the primary campaign.
He also addressed allegations that he created a copycat blog to make it appear Mosca, of Manchester, who also separately represents the New Hampshire House of Representatives, supported his candidacy in the Republican primary last month.
'Somebody very close to me admitted to doing so,' Youssef said of the person who made the bogus blog. Youssef said he has had the person take down the site.
Mosca alleges online that Youssef owes thousands in back taxes to the government and has not paid adequate child support. Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge said his office is investigating Mosca's claims that Youssef violated the law, a misdemeanor, for allegedly misrepresenting someone's political support.
Youssef won the primary, narrowly beating Franklin's Bill Grimm. He is now headed to a November election against Democrat Andrew Hosmer to represent Laconia, Franklin, Belmont, Andover, Boscawen, Canterbury, Gilford, Northfield, Salisbury and Webster in the newly formed Senate District 7.
On the eve of the election, Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield said he suspected, but had no proof, that a mailing in support of Youssef signed only 'Ken' went out to Franklin voters from the Youssef campaign. Merrifield, however, supported Grimm.
Youssef said there were four volunteers who mailed material to voters and one of them was named Kenny. Each used sticky notes to sign their first name and he indicated one of them wrote on his campaign website that it was not intended to be misconstrued.
He also noted that because the mailing cost less than the $500 required for finance reporting, there was no omission of finance reporting requirements.
Youssef wrote on his campaign website there was 'never any intent to create any confusion between the volunteer stuffing our envelopes and any supporters of my Republican opponent.'
Youssef said his motives for running have nothing to do with how the legal system deals with divorced fathers, as some have alleged.
'If I wanted to do that, I would have run for the House,' he said.
Mosca replied by email that his motives to publicize Youssef's financial and personal affairs are 'done to correct the egregiously false impression that Josh has created about my client, Bethany Youssef, in the public eye.'
He said Youssef reported an income of $40,000 when the court found his income should have been reported at $71,367 and even that was materially understated.
He said Youssef did not file tax returns for 2005 through 2009 until 2011, and that he has sought revisions to his payment of back taxes citing the child support.
Youssef said that 'when someone is trying to destroy you, you have to make decisions and I made decisions in my son's best interest.'
He said he has increased his child support from $700 to $1,270 a month to retroactively deal with child support requirements and has not appealed the court's decision. He said he was never behind on support.
'I have a duty to my son, and I treat it with the highest regard,' he said.
He said he welcomes the opportunity to meet and debate with Democrat Andrew Hosmer, who, with his family, operates AutoServe, a large automobile dealership in the Lakes region. The debate will be held Friday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Woodside Building of the Taylor Community.
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Paula Tracy may be reached at email@example.com..