Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Glenn Winuk update

On 25 September 2006, the posting to this Blog discussed Glenn Winuk, the volunteer firefighter/EMT who died while performing rescue operations at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The 25 September 2006 posting was a bit skeptical and chary regarding the motives of Winuk's surviving family members in trying to qualify for survivors' death benefits under the Public Safety Officers’ Death Benefits Act. This is a function of my training and experience with the IRS, and not on account of any character flaws that the Winuk family members may possess. An IRS agent who cannot "think dirty" cannot effectively enforce the tax laws.

And, if Glenn's brother Jay is to be believed (his statement is, in fact, extremely plausible), the Winuk family has spent more money pursuing their legal remedies than they will collect from the death benefits. Notwithstanding my initial caution in the 25 September posting, it seems that the Winuk family really was in the fight for the principle.

It is with much gratitude that I now report the Winuk family's victory in the Court of Federal Claims. The opinion by Judge Marian Blank Horn makes for a good read in memory of Glenn J. Winuk, and also holds a magnifying glass over the miniature minds of the bureaucrats who fought tooth and nail to deny Glenn his rightful status as a public safety officer killed in the line of duty at the World Trade Center. When it comes to tending to the public treasury, some initial skepticism is healthy and appropriate, but, as Judge Horn noted:

"Chairman Biancanello and Chief Lottes of the Jericho Fire District properly certified that Glenn Winuk should be considered to have been a public safety officer killed in the line of duty during the 9/11 tragedy. That should have been the end of it."

Hopefully, the Department of Justice will not appeal Judge Horn's well-reasoned and well-substantiated decision, so that Glenn Winuk's family can hold their heads up high in full knowledge that Glenn's heroic actions are appreciated, and that Glenn Winuk can have his hard-earned and dearly paid rest in peace.

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