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3 celebrities on list of California tax evaders

April 10, 2009|Rich Connell
  • Actor-comedian Sinbad, shown at right in this file photo with Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Michael Duke, owes California $2.5 million on a tax lien first filed in 2001, state officials said.
Actor-comedian Sinbad, shown at right in this file photo with Wal-Mart… (April L. Brown, Associated…)

O.J. Simpson's off the list, but singer Dionne Warwick, actor Burt Reynolds, actor-comedian Sinbad and a prominent Los Angeles developer still make this year's roll of California taxpayers with the largest delinquent income tax bills.

This year's ranking includes 250 names. A few are famous or local notables, but most are low-profile individuals and businesses. Together they owe $143 million in back taxes, said Franchise Tax Board spokesman John Barrett.

State Controller John Chiang, who also is chairman of the Franchise Tax Board, said the annual list, intended to pressure those with large bills to pay up, represents only a fraction of the $6.5 billion in personal income taxes that go unpaid each year.

Simpson was on last year's list, with a bill of $1.5 million. The onetime football great and actor was taken off this year's list after being sentenced to at least nine years -- and possibly up to 33 years -- in prison in Nevada for his role in robbing a pair of memorabilia dealers.

Barrett declined to comment on details of individual tax cases, and Simpson's attorney could not be reached.

In addition to paying the taxes, names can be removed for several reasons, including filing bankruptcy and arranging installment payments. Names also can be removed when officials deem the debt uncollectable.

The 2009 list includes Warwick, who owes $2.18 million, and Reynolds, who owes $225,000. Both of the obligations date to the 1990s, according to the board.

Warwick's publicist, Kevin Sasaki, said in an e-mail that the singer has cooperated with the tax board and that a payment arrangement is "already in motion."

A representative for Reynolds could not be reached for comment.

Sinbad, listed as Sinbad Adkins, of Oak Park, Ill., owes $2.5 million on a tax lien first filed in 2001. His publicist said he had no comment.

Also continuing on the list is Christopher Hammond, a developer and political fundraiser who successfully built low- income housing in Los Angeles.

But Hammond ran into financial and legal problems on a large, city-subsidized shopping center project near Baldwin Hills.

Two years ago, when the list showed him owing $231,000, Hammond told The Times that he had made $90,000 in payments and arranged to be taken off the list.

Now he owes $504,000, according to the state. Hammond could not be reached for comment.


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