Celebrities find themselves targets of the law, IRS

Has another star of The Brady Bunch gone bad or was it a case of mistaken indentity? Christopher Knight, through no fault of his own, leads this installment of AccountingWEB's celebrity news.

Accountant Charlie Netel this month filed assault-and-battery charges against a Christopher Knight. Soon after the charges were filed, dozens of news stories popped up detailing how Knight, the actor who played Peter on The Brady Bunch series was allegedly the subject of a lawsuit.
 
Knight lent money to a company connected with Netel, who was Knight’s former accountant, and, according to the complaint, was trying to retrieve the money. The complaint alleges that Knight “used profanity and stalked and abused Netel.”
 
The only problem is Knight of The Brady Bunch says the news stories have the wrong guy, leading at least one news outlet to issue a retraction and an apology.
 
"I don't know Charlie Netel. I have never had a relationship, professional or otherwise, with a Charlie Netel. I've never been a client of a Charlie Netel. I've never hired a Charlie Netel," Knight told reporters.
 
Director Nick Cassavetes is in trouble of a different kind – the kind so many celebrities are getting into. He’s over his head in delinquent taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service and the state of California.
 
His tax troubles go back to March 2009, when the state of California filed a tax lien against him in the amount of $118,000. The IRS followed in June 2009 with a lien for $281,080. In April 2010, another IRS lien was filed for $718,235. And, in June 2010, the state hit him with another lien for $235,504. All four liens were filed in the office of the Los Angeles County Recorder of Deeds.
 
Cassavetes is known for directing chick flicks, such as The Notebook and My Sister’s Keeper.
 
A star of the current movie Little Fockers, Teri Polo, owes the federal government nearly half a million dollars in back taxes. For Polo, the troubles date back to 2005. Here’s what is owed:
  • From 2005 and 2006, Polo is facing a federal lien for $227,144, filed in February 2008 in the Kent County, Delaware Recorder of Deeds.
  • Also filed in 2008, a lien for $91,748 filed in the office of the Los Angeles County Recorder of Deeds, relating to income from 2005 and 2006.
  • In August 2009, the IRS filed another lien, also in Delaware, for $114,844 for taxes owed from 2007.
  • And in January 2010, a federal lien for $116,620 was filed in Los Angeles, relating to 2008 income.
The grand total is more than $458,000. Polo’s manager, Bob McGowan, told The Detroit News that the actress acknowledges the debt. According to McGowan, Polo fell behind in her taxes when she took a hiatus from acting after her divorce, and concentrated instead on raising her three children. McGowan said she has worked out payment plans with federal and state authorities based on the pay she expects to receive from Little Fockers.
 
Polo, a Delaware native, had a role in The West Wing television series, and starred in Meet the Parents and its two sequels.
 

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