Tag Archives: tax evasion

Gee, Mary, That Sounds Tough, But You Still Stole Millions Of Dollars…

I guess I’m just a hard-hearted bastard.

Last  September, art world luminary and art dealer Mary Boone, whose gallery  have been a prime feature of the New York art community since the Seventies, agreed to plead guilty to charges of filing false federal income tax returns, defrauding the government of millions of dollars. They had her dead to rights: the evidence showed that she used business funds to pay for more than $1.6 million in her personal expenses such as remodeling her  Manhattan apartment, and then falsely claimed those expenses as business deductions, prosecutors said. Then she failed to report on her personal tax forms the profit from her gallery, claiming losses to offset what she had declared as her personal income.

Now it’s sentencing time, and Boone’s lawyers are sawing away at the world’s smallest violin. Facing up to six years in prison, Boone is asking for compassion and minimal sentencing, indeed, her lawyers argue that she shouldn’t go to prison at all. Why? She had a troubled and unstable childhood, apparently. These led to mental health issues, a suicide attempt and drug and alcohol abuse. Most importantly, the poverty of her early life made her fearful that, despite her success, she would end up destitute and dependent upon others.

Funny…I’ve had those same fears at various times during my life. It never occurred to me that this might be a Get Out of Jail Free card.

“Behind the facade of success and strength lies a fragile and, at times, broken individual,” her lawyers wrote in the filing to the court made last month. The Times further reports, Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Law & Law Enforcement, Race

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY)

jailedI have to get the ridiculous Congressman Grimm on the record so he’s eligible for the “Worst of Ethics 2014”  awards coming up in just a week or so.

You’ll remember the charming Rep. Grimm from this post, when he threatened to kill a reporter for asking him a question.

Now, after winning re-election in November (Staten Island and South Brooklyn, hang your head) despite being indicted on 20 criminal counts mail fraud and perjury, he has pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion and will be sentenced in June. He could spend from 24 to 30 months in prison.

So far, Grimm has indicated that he will not resign, which is where the “incompetent” comes in: he’s nuts. The nation can’t have convicted felons making its laws, or even sitting in the halls of Congress. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Grimm to be thrown out; for once she’s right. It is likely that republican leadership will move against him quickly if he continues to be stubborn.

The House’s code of conduct could force him to abstain from congressional activities. There is a House rule that states that a member who has been convicted of a crime “for which a sentence of two or more years’ imprisonment may be imposed should refrain from participation” in committees and from “voting on any question at a meeting of the House,” until the member is “reelected to the House after the date of such conviction.”

The man has embarrassed himself, his office, his district, his constituency, anyone who voted for him, his party, his state and his nation and its system of government. Of course he has to resign.

I must say, though, if Grimm believes the same bozos who elected him in November won’t abandon him just because he’s wearing an orange jumpsuit while running, you can hardly blame him.

UPDATE: Grimm will resign.

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Sources: NPR, Washington Post

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

The Depressing Rangel Censure: Unethical Culture on Display

It takes quite a bit of doing for the public punishment of a revered figure for unethical conduct to make an institution appear more unethical itself, but the U.S. House of Representatives was up to the challenge yesterday.

As expected, Rep. Charlie Rangel, former ly the powerful Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, received a censure by majority vote, the harshest punishment a Member can receive short of expulsion. Rangel had been found guilty of five major ethical violations, or as they should properly be called, five instances of ongoing egregious unethical conduct. Charley and friends like to say “ethical violations” because that can be spun into mere carelessness, like not putting enough money on the meter. From the beginning, Rangel’s line has been that he made “mistakes,” suggesting they were either accidental or that he didn’t realize they were unethical. Think about that as you review the five: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

Rangel’s Mercy Plea Theory: The Ethics Savings Account

As I write this, Rep. Charles Rangel is asking his colleagues for mercy, as they decide what his punishment should be for eleven counts of ethics misdeeds including abuse of his office and tax evasion. He has made the unconvincing argument that it all adds up to sloppiness, not corruption, though the sheer weight and breadth of the charges against him indicate otherwise. Rangel’s main defense, as he tried to stave off censure, was the testimony of Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon and compatriot of Martin Luther King, soon to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Lewis described Rangel as a “good and decent man, an honest man,” a Korean War vet who came to Selma, Ala. and marched alongside King and Lewis in the cause of civil rights, which Rangel, Lewis said, fought for his entire career.

Lewis’s character endorsement is completely irrelevant to Rangel’s current corruption issues. I don’t think it should be allowed.  Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Leadership, Professions