A Florida man claims two Texas corporations are responsible for the unpaid taxes he claims the Internal Revenue Service is now trying to collect from him.

Richard H. Cullifer filed a lawsuit Sept. 23 in Jefferson County District Court against Neches Industrial Park, Midcoast Financial, Neches Holdings and Donald Stevenson.

Cullifer claims the IRS has demanded he pay federal income taxes for the year 2004 on Neches Industrial Park, a company in which Cullifer owned 50 percent stock.

However, Cullifer claims he does not owe the money and that other companies bear responsibility for the disbursement of the funds.

On Aug. 25, 2004, Cullifer sold his share of stock in NIP in a share purchase agreement between Neches Holdings and MidCoast Financial, according to the complaint. At the time of the transaction, Cullifer worked with Stevenson, who served as managing director of MidCoast, the suit states.

"After disbursement of funds to the appropriate parties, the sum of $6,232,970 in cash remained in NIP," the suit states. "By this time, Cullifer had sold his stock and the $6,232,970 was under the control of the Defendants. This amount would have been available to discharge NIP's tax liability for its fiscal year ending September 30, 2004, as estimated by NIP's accountants."

As part of the share purchase agreement, NIP had a retained liability for the federal taxes for fiscal year 2004, and Cullifer claims he believed he would not be responsible for them, the complaint says. Cullifer alleges the defendants agreed to file and pay all state and federal income taxes for NIP in 2004.

However, they failed to do so, and now the IRS want Cullifer to foot the bill, according to the complaint.

Cullifer alleges breach of contract, fraud and negligence against the defendants.

He seeks actual and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Stacie Augustine of Strong, Pipkin, Bissell and Ledyard in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B188-459

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