COVINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is remaining mum about why its agents, U.S. Federal Marshals, and the Georgia State Patrol raided OHCO Inc. on Aug. 28. OHCO is an international fabric and textile distributor located at 4158 Robinson St. in Covington.
“Federal privacy laws prohibit the IRS from confirming or denying correspondence with any taxpayer or business,” stated Media Section Manager Dee Harris Stepter in an email from the IRS office in New Orleans, La. “Nor do we comment on specific taxpayers or cases, per the law.”
An IRS agent at the scene would say only that they were looking at business records, but did say they would be closing the building, and locksmiths were on hand to change the door locks. An unconfirmed report from a resident in Covington said that the IRS was also at the home of OHCO owner George W. Hart Jr. on Conyers Street Thursday evening.
In addition to whatever the IRS is looking for, Hart and OHCO are facing tax problems locally as well. The Citizen has learned that Hart owes more than $500,000 in delinquent property taxes for parcels 4148-4182 Robinson St., where OHCO is located.
A check of the Taxpayer Search and Pay site on the Newton County Tax Commissioner’s website found that Hart has not paid property taxes on OHCO since 2010, and according to delinquency records on the site, owes $503,614.47 in property taxes.
According to its website, OHCO Inc. is one of the largest exporters in the United States of fabric, textile stock lots and closeouts and has been in business for nearly 50 years. Its customer base primarily consists of clients in South America, Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean Islands.
OHCO also operates a retail outlet center in Covington with an area rug department and back warehouse sales, and holds “warehouse sales” twice a year in March and October.
George Hart is owner of OHCO and his son, Josh Hart, is president of the company.