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Radio Host Will Plead Guilty to Tax Charge, Lawyer Says

February 11, 1988|Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A former part-time judge in Michigan who took a new name and a new career as a radio talk show host in California has tentatively agreed to plead guilty to an income tax charge, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Leon Edmond Kowalski, 47, who broadcast under the name of Ed Kowas, was ordered released for a week on $50,000 bail by U.S. Magistrate Frederick Woelflen and is scheduled to be back on the radio this morning, said George Anderson, president of station KMFB.

Anderson, who signed the no-cash bail bond, said listeners kept his phone ringing all weekend after news of Kowalski's arrest.

"It's been incredible, the support for him in our community," Anderson told reporters.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Nancy Pemberton said Kowalski had tentatively agreed to plead guilty to one of two federal tax evasion charges. She said no promises have been made about the sentence, which could be as much as five years in prison.

Kowalski was a lawyer in Baldwin, Mich., in 1979 when he was appointed as a part-time probate judge. Pemberton said he handled mainly juvenile cases in his four years in office, which ended when he decided not to seek election in 1984.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids in 1986 on charges of evading nearly $75,000 in income taxes by filing fraudulent returns in 1981 and 1982.

Kowalski then left for California, where he worked at part-time jobs in the north coastal community of Mendocino. He became a regular caller to a KMFB talk show and auditioned and won a job when the host left the station.

His show, "On the Record," takes calls on politics and current affairs. He also has kept a job as a campground manager.

"He's always got a job back here," Anderson said after Kowalski's arrest last week. He said the man he knew as Ed Kowas had always fended off questions about his background.

Asked how Kowalski would identify himself when he returns to the air today, Anderson said, "That's a decision that's going to be his."

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