LACONIA — A Gilmanton man has filed suit against the town claiming he should not be forced to pay the school portion of his municipal tax bill because he has no children enrolled.
Joseph S. Haas Jr., of 67 Mountain Road, filed a complaint in Belknap County Superior Court, seeking $12,952 from the town claiming that on Halloween 2018 he gave the town’s tax collector notice “that there is no child nor children attending the local government’s schools,” asserting that the tax bill was an invoice for goods or services received.
Haas filed for an abatement with selectmen and was denied. In addition to seeking the return of the education portion of his tax bill, Haas is also asking the court to issue an injunction barring the town treasurer from paying to SAU 79 “the monies either illegally and or/unlawfully taken in by the town.”
In response to the suit, the town noted that as Haas has in several cases before Belknap Superior Court and the Board of Land and Tax Appeals, asserted claims that the local and statewide education levy components of the town’s tax bill are illegal or unconstitutional.
According to the town, Haas makes no allegation that his property is disproportionately assessed or that he is unable to pay the tax bill, and as a result fails to state a tax abatement claim for which relief may be granted.
Attorney Justin L. Pasay of Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella PPLC of Portsmouth, asserted on behalf of the town that Gilmanton’s tax assessment of the property is proportional and reasonable and asks the court to dismiss the case.
According to Pasay’s response to the complaint, Haas’ arguments “bears resemblance” to several other complaints he has filed against the town of Gilmanton and the town of Boscawen in superior court and the BLTA which revolve around the core argument that the municipality’s assessment of state and local educational taxes are illegal and or unconstitutional. To the town’s knowledge, all of Haas’ other cases have been dismissed.
Haas, who is representing himself, has requested a jury trial and has asked the judge to allow other taxpayers to join in the case should they so choose.
In 2017, Haas made an unsuccessful bid for town treasurer , vowing to comply with state law requiring “collateral” in coin and to dispense with checks as a form of payment. Haas is no stranger to challenging legal process in New Hampshire.
The Nashua Telegraph reported that Haas was accused of threatening future U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and her family in 2004, when she was New Hampshire Attorney General. Haas said he approached Ayotte about the speedy-trial rule on behalf of a friend, and he said, she rebuffed him. He then made the analogy of Pharaoh facing plagues in the Bible’s book of Exodus for not letting Moses and his chosen people go. The remark was construed as a threat, he said. He was arrested but then released on bail.
Three years later, the Telegraph reported, Haas was convicted of criminally threatening City Councilor Terri Dudley. Haas said he used the expression “wise up or die,” and invoked an image of Dante’s Inferno, in regards to Dudley, who opposed one of his initiatives.
More recently, Haas has alleged “official oppression” against former Grafton County Superior Court Clerk Robert Muh in 2012 and then Gov. Maggie Hassan in 2014, according to the state judicial branch, the Telegraph reported. Both suits were dismissed, the newspaper reported.