I-Team: Nevada Tea Party Candidate Faces Liens, Fines and Lawsuits - 8 News NOW

Investigative Reporter Jonathan Humbert and Photojournalist Alex Brauer

I-Team: Nevada Tea Party Candidate Faces Liens, Fines and Lawsuits

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Scott Ashjian Scott Ashjian

LAS VEGAS -- It has not been a pleasant two weeks for United State Senate hopeful Jon Scott Ashjian. Three of his personal properties have been served with default notices, his Nevada Tea Party supporters will not come to his aid and national party leaders have denounced him as a fraud.

Wednesday was just another day when the State Contractor's board revoked Ashjian's license for A&A Asphalt, one of his companies. Ashjian did not appear at the short hearing in Henderson, Nevada, instead allowing a default judgment to move forward. The board was told Ashjian and his company passed off checks without proper funds.

Money problems hound Ashjian, but the political issues are tripping him up.

"Anybody who says they are a ‘Tea Party' candidate is a complete fraud," said Mark Williams, a national organizer of the Tea Party Express event in Searchlight this Saturday.

See the documents against Ashjian

Williams is part of a loud contingent denouncing Ashjian, not for his business shortcomings, but for the political calculus of siphoned votes.

"This is an American political movement. It's not a movement for opportunism or self-aggrandizing," Williams said.

The Tea Party is a loosely-based movement focused on fiscal conservative values. But it lacks true party status, despite filings in Nevada to create the party and connect with Ashjian. Republicans worry Ashjian's presence on the ballot will pull votes from the GOP, giving Senator Harry Reid an easier path to victory.

Republican candidate Sue Lowden would not reference Ashjian by name when asked about his legitimacy.

"I've never met him. I've been around a long time and I've been very active campaigning for candidates, supporting candidates, and I've never met this young man," she said.

Her primary rival Danny Tarkanian echoed the confusion. "There is no Tea Party candidate," he said. When pressed, Tarkanian shared the common refrain. "He's running under the Tea Party label, but nobody in the Tea Party knows who he is and they've all repudiated him."

Ashjian may not make it to November because of personal money troubles and lawsuits. Dozens of public records show a messy financial and legal trail in Ashjian's past.

Ashjian was served with an Internal Revenue Service lien for more than $200,000 nearly a year ago. Then back taxes from 2003. It is unclear what progress Ashjian has made to pay the debt.

During the last two weeks, three of Ashjian's properties have been served with default notices. Two offices on Balsam near U.S 95 and Craig are being rented out, but the companies there said they have trouble getting in touch with Ashjian. The renters did not seem to know the properties were defaulted.

The Balsam addresses also faced City of Las Vegas zoning violations and permit problems. One property also had a lien with Republic Services for past due payments for waste disposal. Ashjian had previously operated A & A Asphalt out of the area.

Ashjian's debts on the properties originally totaled nearly $1 million. Now both Balsam addresses and the "Ashjian Development" property on Red Coach are going through foreclosure.

The Tea Party hopeful also has issues paying personal debt. Ashjian's family trust failed to pay homeowners association dues at a condo on Buffalo Drive. Ashjian was targeted with a lien for nearly $7,000 for roofing work on the Red Coach property.

Records show Ashjian is facing multiple lawsuits, both personally and professionally. Las Vegas Paving and Sagebrush Corporation filed in separate cases that he broke terms of contracts. The Independent American Party wants to remove Ashjian from the ballot and filed this week to bar him from the November vote.

Nevada Tea Party filings also provide little clue about Ashjian and connections to the national movement. Chairman Sid James resigned recently and could not give any information about Ashjian. Party secretary and lawyer Barry Levinson, who also represents Ashjian, did not return multiple phone calls. Multiple calls and emails to Ashjian, his campaign and lawyer were not returned.

If you have any questions or story ideas, connect with Jonathan via email or on Twitter.

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