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'Deadbeat Debtors'

September 21, 1993

* On Aug. 31 The Times printed a letter from Controller Gray Davis which stated that he sponsored legislation which would "empower the Franchise Tax Board to go after deadbeat debtors." This reminded me of the old adage that it takes a thief to catch a thief.

In February, 1993, the Franchise Tax Board attached $5,192 from my bank accounts, and this was money which I did not owe them. The best response I could get from an agent in Sacramento was, "Well, it may be your money, but we've got it, and it's up to you to try to get it back." So I had to hire a tax person, and during the first week in May I filed all the papers with an agent in Van Nuys, who checked everything and told me I was "free to go." She also told me not to spend my refund all at once, as it would take them four to six weeks for them to send me a check. Good advice, because they have not yet returned the $5,192, and they have not sent the additional monies my tax man found.

When I call the agent, her standard response continues to be "four to six weeks." I have asked her for the name of someone else I could call and she has not responded.

So all you "deadbeat debtors" watch out. If the Franchise Tax Board targets you, guilt or innocence will have no part to play in your punishment.

HUGH DENTON

Van Nuys

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