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.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Big Dipper: Update #6:

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Some more slanted journalism from Newsday (what else is new?). I happen to support the cause towards which Newsday's journalism is slanted, but it is slanted journalism just the same.

The office of New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has issued an official report which finds that Larry Reich was misclassified as an employee of 5 different Long Island school districts. He should have been classified as an independent contractor, and, more to the point, he should not have been logging time as an employee for New York State pension purposes.

The specific finding in DiNapoli's report is "District officials should submit corrected retirement reports to ERS [Employee Retirement System] related to Mr. Reich."

Newsday's headline, however, is "NY Comptroller: Attorney has to Pay Back Pension."

First of all, the DiNapoli report is, at this moment in time, nothing more than a recommendation. The affected school districts have 90 days to come up with some sort of corrective action. The most logical corrective action would, in fact, entail a reimbursement from Larry Reich. But Newsday is a bit ahead of the process.

In Big Dipper Update #4 (26 February 2008) I speculated whether Janet Wilson, the Harborfields School District Superintendent, was Newsday's source of a certain document. DiNapoli's report does not directly answer that question, but it does state that "In August 2006, OSC [Office of the State Comptroller] received an anonymous complaint concerning the Harborfields Central School District. Among other issues, the complaint alleged that the District had classified an attorney, Mr. Lawrence Reich, as an employee while at the same time, paying his law firm a retainer for legal services." This is no proof of the Newsday source, but neither is it inconsistent with the proposition that Janet was their girl.

As far as the State of New York and its pension system goes, this presents an opportunity for all the double-dipping school attorneys to resolve their pension issues and avoid criminal prosecution.

But there still is the matter of the Federal grand jury, and the involvement of the IRS. The way I am now calling it: There may well be some tax fraud issues above and beyond the pension adjustment issues.

Nous verrons ce que nous verrons!

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