HAVERHILL — Senate candidate Shaun Toohey faced over $12,000 in IRS liens for failing to pay taxes and spent several years in his late teens and early 20’s as a stripper in a male review, according to a public records review of the Republican nominee in the hotly-contested First Essex District Senate race.
“It was a part-time job,” said Toohey, 43, who was born in Methuen and grew up in Lawrence. “I was in great shape, and me and a couple guys I was friends with did it to make some money and have some fun. I met a lot of great people and I’m not ashamed of it.”
But that’s not the only thing discovered in a public records search of Toohey’s name. According to the Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds, the IRS put a lien on Toohey for failure to pay $12,042 in income taxes in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Toohey, a self-employed mortgage banker and a member of the Haverhill School Committee since 2001, paid the tax bill and the lien was removed in February 2010, according to documents on file with the registry office in Salem, Mass.
The federal tax lien lists Toohey’s home at 696 Crystal St. as his residence, but Toohey said the lien wasn’t on that property because the home is solely in his wife’s name.
Toohey said the he got in trouble with the IRS “14 or 15 years ago” as a result of some business problems. He said he made an agreement with the tax agency to make annual payments on the debt and eventually paid it off in 2010.
“I was struggling financially for several years in the late 1990s, but I persevered and turned my business around,” Toohey said. “It was a very difficult time for me and my family. But I’m up to date on all my taxes now.”