ABC Supply owner ignites tax controversy

Diane Hendricks, owner of ABC Supply Co. and the richest woman in Wisconsin, paid no state income tax in 2010, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The report, also carried by the Associated Press, follows revelations that that Hendricks and Gov. Scott Walker held a strategy session on curtailing union activities. Voter backlash has resulted in a recall election for Walker next week.

Hendricks is a strong financial supporter of both Walker and conservative causes. She gave the governor more than $500,000, according to the newspaper, making her Walker's largest donor.

A spokesman for ABC Supply, company tax director Scott Bianchini, told the Journal Sentinel that Hendricks state tax obligation dropped from $2.26 million for 2009 to zero for 2010 because of a change in the corporate structure of ABC Supply. The company paid taxes of $373,671 for the second half of 2010, the records show.

Bianchini explained that before 2010, ABC Supply was an "S" corporation, meaning the profits and the tax obligation flowed to Hendricks as the owner of the firm. In 2010, the company changed its structure so the profits and the tax obligation stay with the company.

"Now ABC is paying taxes on its own," Bianchini said. He declined to explain the disparity between the amount of taxes paid by the corporation and Hendricks herself, however.

Hendricks and her husband Ken, who died in 2007, built ABC Supply into one of the nation’s largest suppliers of roofing, siding and exterior building products. Revenues in 2011 were $4 billion.