OK, have you heard the one about the tax lawyer who doesn’t pay his taxes?
That would be Jim Kleier, a partner at Reed Smith in San Francisco, who’s made a career of representing big companies in tax fights with the government. Kleier — and we’re sure he has a good explanation for this — owes the state of California $441,022.92 for unpaid income taxes over the past decade. At least, that’s the state’s story. Several phone messages and an email to Kleier this week seeking his side went unreturned. We could’ve set him a deadline today, but if it doesn’t work for the Franchise Tax Board ….
The reason we know about all this is because the rich-in-irony-and-tax-savings lawyer made the shameful and star-studded list of the top 250 delinquent taxpayers, released by the state last week. Comic Sinbad apparently owes the state $2.5 million. Singer/Psychic Friends Network hawker Dionne Warwick owes $2.2 million. So maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on Kleier — if even a psychic couldn’t predict that the California tax authorities would catch up to her, what chance does a tax lawyer stand?
— Zusha Elinson