A Tuscaloosa City Councilman has been charged with a misdemeanor this week alleging that he willfully failed to file sales tax for one of his businesses last year, according to court records obtained by the Tuscaloosa Thread.

The charge was filed against Councilman Cassius Lanier, who is late in his first term representing the city's District 7 on the council.

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Lanier narrowly unseated former incumbent Sonya McKinstry in a 2021 general election that was nullified over issues with felony convictions in his past that were not pardoned before Lanier qualified to run for the council seat.

After a judge threw out Lanier's first victory, a special election was held that saw him face off against McKinstry again, and his victory in the second race was convincing.

Lanier is known around Tuscaloosa as an entrepreneur, and is listed on the Alabama secretary of state database as a director, manager or oganizer of three businesses including Lanier Automotive on Skyland Boulevard, the Diamond Foundation of Alabama, Inc. and an LLC called Cassius Daily Deals.

On Tuesday, documents were filed charging Lanier with failure to file or pay sales tax.

A deposition accompanying the charge did not specify which business failed to pay or how much money is at issue, but said Lanier "did willfully fail to file and/or pay sales tax" from February 2022 through July 2022.

The 49-year-old councilman was summoned to answer the charge in District Court next month. Lanier did not respond to an email or text message seeking comment for this report.

For updates on this developing story as they become available, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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