Gov. candidate Scott Wagner's 2012 divorce proceedings shed light on his otherwise undisclosed personal finances | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Gov. candidate Scott Wagner's 2012 divorce proceedings shed light on his otherwise undisclosed personal finances

Divorce courts ruled Wagner’s net income was $4.9m total from 2008 to 2010, and his business has only grown since then.

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Scott Wagner - PHOTO COURTESY CAMPAIGN WEBSITE
  • Photo courtesy campaign website
  • Scott Wagner
As a candidate for Pennsylvania Governor, Scott Wagner has touted his financial success as a CEO and founder of a trash-and-recycling business. Penn Waste, his York County company, is reportedly slated to bring in $70 million dollars this year.

Wagner also had enough personal cash on hand to put $10 million toward his campaign. But publicly, Wagner has bristled at disclosing information about his personal finances. Wagner has broke with precedent and refused to release his tax returns. His opponent, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York), has repeatedly called on him to do so.

“Scott Wagner is hiding his salary from voters and employees so that he can continue to line his own pockets while raising rates on small businesses and consumers,” said Beth Melena of the Wolf campaign in an August statement. “It’s time for Scott Wagner to release his tax returns and stop hiding from the people of Pennsylvania."

Wolf released his tax returns in September, which showed his 2017 adjusted gross income was $414,000 and he donated $1.3 million to charity. In his 2014 campaign, Wolf, also a millionaire, largely self-funded his campaign.



Divorce records from 2012 show that Wagner was likely making more than $1.5 million each year on average from 2008-2010.

According to the Dauphin County Reporter, a publication of the Dauphin County Bar Association, Wagner “initially offered expert opinion that his 2008 and 2009 net income available for support was de minimis, including that it was only $950 per month in 2009.”

De minimis is a legal term meaning “too trivial or minor to merit consideration.”

Wagner later submitted estimations that his net income was $148,477 in 2008, $699,642 in 2009, and $750,770 in 2010. This would put his total over that three-year period at about $1.6 million.

But a court ruled his 2008 income from his wages alone was $509,000, and more than $481,000 in 2009, according to a 2016 story in the York Daily Record. Eventually the court ruled that Wagner’s net income from 2008-2010 was more than $4.9 million.

The Wagner campaign did not return a request for comment on this story.

The Associated Press reported in August that Wagner told a crowd in Erie that it’s his “business” how much money he makes.

“And you know what?” Wagner said. “If I disclose those tax returns, union representatives get a hold of my tax returns, go around to my employees' homes at night and say, `Hey Mrs. Jones, how much does your husband make?' She goes, `Well, he makes this.’ `Well, this guy makes a lot more.’”

According to a 2018 award from the Solid Waste Association of North American, Wagner's Penn Waste saw a 50 percent increase in tonnage between 2010-2014. During that time span, Penn Waste had a fleet of more than 100 garbage trucks, and served 175,000 customers. By 2017, Penn Waste had grown to 125 collection trucks and was serving 182,000 customers, including 2,000 commercial customers.

Wagner and Wolf face off in the Nov. 6 election for Pennsylvania governor. 

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