You are hereSan Diego Union-Tribune: Company Issa founded underpaid tariffs

San Diego Union-Tribune: Company Issa founded underpaid tariffs

The car-alarm maker remitted $2.5 million in back payments and interest this year

May 18, 2011- The Vista car-alarm company once owned by Congressman Darrell Issa was paying about half the required tariffs on certain parts it imported from China for years and paid an estimated $2.5 million in back duties earlier this year to rectify the situation.

Issa no longer owns DEI Holdings Inc., although he is still on the board of the company, which is being sold to Boston-based Charlesbank Capital Partners for $285 million in cash.

In a prepared response to questions from The Watchdog, Issa said he was aware of the misclassifications and participated in efforts to resolve them.

“Once these issues came to the attention of the board of directors, we called for an independent review by expert counsel,” he wrote. “My understanding is the company has made appropriate tariff adjustments and disclosures both to Customs and our independent auditors.”

DEI said the classifications were corrected as quickly as possible when the problem was discovered early in 2010. In the first quarter of this year, the company reported the underpayments to Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency that enforces tariffs.

Former DEI executive Mike Wilhelm noted that the disclosure was made a year after the fact, and only after he filed a whistle-blower complaint with Customs on March 14 of this year.