I don’t like to think of myself as someone who holds a grudge. Forgive and forget, I say. Move on.
Well, that is, except for maybe three or four people from college for whom I still harbor a wee bit of a grudge, but they really deserve it. And OK, maybe one or two others along the way. What I probably should say is I don’t hold MANY grudges.
But here we are four months later, and that slap-on-the-wrist sentence for Beanie Babies creator H. Ty Warner is still sticking in my craw.
That’s why I’m glad to see it’s not sitting well either with the U.S. Attorney’s office, which filed legal arguments Friday with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of yet sending Warner to prison.
I almost gagged in January when U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras sentenced Warner to two years probation and 500 hours of community service for tax evasion while arguing that the billionaire’s charitable work “trumps all the ill-will and misconduct he engaged in.”
That misconduct involved Warner hiding more than $100 million in secret Swiss bank accounts without reporting the interest on his income taxes for more than a decade until he was caught. He avoided at least $5.5 million in taxes in this manner, perhaps considerably more when you take into account that he’s never disclosed the source of the money he stashed there originally.
I have nothing personal against Warner. As I wrote previously, he suckered me fair and square out of whatever share of his wealth to which I contributed by buying his toys now taking up space in my attic. Beanie Babies always put a smile on my kids’ faces, so I figure I got my money’s worth.
But I really get my undies in a bundle over these super-rich creeps who make their fortune here and then hide it in off-shore accounts to avoid the tax consequences, as if it would just be so unfair as in Warner’s case if his net worth were $1.65 billion instead of the $1.7 billion he reports.