Head of Tammany good-government group settles overdue tax bill _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SUSAN BROADBRIDGE -- LaCombe resident Rick Franzo stands in front of the highway 1088 property that was to be the location of a fracking project on the Northshore.

Rick Franzo is the high-profile head of the Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, an activist group that has made its mission the bird-dogging of public officials it feels are wasteful or corrupt.

But it seems in the midst of promising to act as the parish’s unofficial inspector general or offering to allow the parish to aid his group in fighting a plan to drill for oil in the parish, Franzo neglected one bit of his own business with government.

Paying his property taxes.

A list published by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office showed that Franzo owed $7,278.68 of overdue property taxes on his Lacombe house, which is valued at $488,990, according to the St. Tammany Parish assessor’s website. That made Franzo’s house eligible to be sold at a tax sale Monday at 10 a.m.

Reached by phone Friday morning, Franzo said that he hadn’t paid the taxes because he disputes his assessment.

“I was planning to fight it, to file suit,” he said.

But he told a reporter he was planning to pay the bill Friday to put the matter to rest. On Friday afternoon, he texted a picture of a receipt showing he had settled his debt with the parish.

But the broader issue isn’t dead — Concerned Citizens plans to look at the parish’s “unfair” tax structure, Franzo said.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.