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Oneida hospital owes millions in unpaid payroll taxes

The Big South Fork Medical Center faces several federal tax liens--and questions about whether it kept money withheld from employee's checks

ONEIDA, Tenn. — The Big South Fork Medical Center owed more than $2.3 million in federal payroll taxes and an undisclosed amount of state unemployment insurance, documents provided to 10News by Senator Marsha Blackburn show. 

The lien notices indicate the hospital, owned by financially-troubled company Rennova, had unpaid balances in tax categories related to Social Security, Medicare and federal unemployment taxes. 

A separate notice from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said the hospital had not paid certain unemployment taxes, interest and penalties. The notice, dated October 2018, did not include the amount of the lien.

"[Staff] should feel secure in reasonably expecting money from the taxes and deductions withheld from their paychecks is properly remitted to the appropriate federal agencies," Blackburn said in a letter to the CEO of Rennova, the financially troubled company which owns the hospital. 

Blackburn draws a comparison between these financial issues and similar problems Rennova's Jamestown Regional Medical Center faced before it closed. 

RELATED: Workers at Rennova hospital say taxes taken out of paychecks never got to IRS

RELATED: Rennova responds after Jamestown employees say company didn't properly pay unemployment

RELATED: TN sending rapid response team to help displaced Jamestown hospital workers find new jobs

Employees in Jamestown told 10News in June that taxes taken out of their paychecks never got to the IRS. Instead of getting a tax refund, some employees got a letter from the federal government saying there's a problem. 

"They have taken money from me and done something with it. Where it went I don't know," Chris Harvey, an ER nurse in Jamestown, said at the time.

Blackburn forwarded the lien information and her letter to the Tennessee Attorney General, the office of the inspectors general of the federal departments of Health and Human Services and Treasury. 

Rennova did not respond to multiple requests for comment.