BATON ROUGE, La — Metro Council member Tara Wicker is fighting for her spot in the upcoming Baton Rouge mayor’s election.
It has been a bumpy journey for the metro council member on her way to be the next mayor-president for the city of Baton Rouge. A lawsuit was filed in late July, stating that the representative for District 10 did not file her income taxes this year. Three parish residents claimed that Wicker also did not file her taxes for the years 2016 and 2018. The residents, Millard F. Cranch Jr., Richard J. Brazen Jr., and Glenn R. Ducote, received this information from the public records from the Louisiana Department of Revenue. The plaintiffs noted the requirement that all candidates running for mayor must prove that they have filed their taxes or have requested extensions before their candidacy.
Wicker and her campaign denied the allegations, saying the lawsuit was a “politically motivated” strategy to block her chance of running for mayor, according to Wicker’s legal team noted that the response from the Louisiana Department of Revenue “was vague” and that the men who filed the suit didn’t produce the actual records request correctly. The team continued to say that without that specific request introduced into evidence, there’s no way of knowing if the men sought the correct information from the Revenue. In the appeal the team filed, reported that it stated, “Without these documents, the Court could not determine whether the department’s inability to ‘confirm’ filings resulted from inaccurate information in the initial request.”
Wicker didn't let that stop her. Earlier this month, Wicker’s campaign team provided a signed letter from her accountant, declaring that he had prepared her taxes in the last five years. Wicker affirmed that when she submitted her Notice of Candidacy forms back on July 22, she was not aware of being delinquent on her taxes. This letter, among other documents, was provided to Judge Tim Kelly earlier this month in court over Zoom. The judge ruled in Wicker’s favor. Judge Kelly told media outlets, “Mrs. Wicker’s testimony is credible and very matter of fact.”
The plaintiffs then appealed to the First Circuit of Appeal, where the judges reversed Judge Kelly’s ruling in a 3-2 decision. Their ruling disqualified Wicker in the running for mayor in the upcoming November election.
The metro council member is not giving up without a fight. Wicker and her team believe a hearing before the high court could happen that could have her winning her spot to run for mayor. She is taking the high road in the case. She made a public statement after hearing the decision rendered by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, repeating a quote she heard, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; only go with the definition that God has.”
As of now, the current Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome, Steve Carter, Eric Guirard, C. Denise Marcelle, Jordan Piazza, Frank Smith III, and Matthew Watson are running for Mayor of Baton Rouge.