"The lawsuit says Reggie claimed in 1991 that he had lost all of his net worth,
and only had $300 in cash and a lawsuit that might allow him to recover $500,000."
--The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.)
Ex-Judge Negotiating Tax Suit Deal
Lafayette, LA February 3, 2004
Attorneys for the federal government and former Crowley City Judge Edmund Reggie are negotiating a possible settlement of a lawsuit that alleges he owes taxes totaling more than $800,000 from as long ago as 1975.
The most recent filing in the case shows that U.S. District Judge Robert James of Monroe halted the litigation for 60 days to allow attorneys to try to reach an agreement.
The lawsuit says Reggie claimed in 1991 that he had lost all of his net worth, and only had $300 in cash and a lawsuit that might allow him to recover $500,000.
The government says in its lawsuit that Reggie and his wife, Doris Boustany Reggie, ended their community property regime in 1990 but remained married, then transferred the community assets, consisting of property, to a corporation owned by Doris Reggie.
The Reggies contend the transfers were made because Doris Reggie received assets from her parents that were separate from the couple's community property, and "She used several million dollars of those assets to pay debts incurred by her husband."
"Similarly, the government's position on the issue of delivery of the property shows a total misunderstanding and disregard of the Reggies' marital and familial relationship, not to mention common sense," the Reggies' attorneys wrote in one motion.
The government says in its lawsuit that the asset transfers were fraudulent undertakings intended, "to hinder and delay the collection of legitimate debts and claims of the United States."
The Reggies' attorney argues federal authorities seized many of the documents, which could be used to defend against the lawsuit, in connection with investigations of Edmund Reggie.
Reggie, 76, was convicted in 1992 of misapplying funds of now-closed Acadia Savings and Loan of Crowley, and in 1993 he pleaded no contest to misapplying $425,000 in the form of a loan by Acadia Savings.
He served 120 consecutive days of home detention and paid a $30,000 fine.
When he was sentenced, federal authorities claimed Reggie's net worth exceeded $18 million, with assets including a $300,000 home in Nantucket, Mass., but Reggie's attorneys argued that he had assets of $103,829 and liabilities of $2.3 million.
The pending lawsuit alleges that Reggie's tax liability is $136,454 for 1975, $179,962 for 1976, $240,974 for 1977, $160,972 for 1990 and $119,672 for 1991.
The Reggies challenged the amount of their tax liabilities by filing a case in U.S. Tax Court, and Doris Reggie contended she was protected by the innocent spouse provisions of tax law, because her husband "is the sole and exclusive spouse who has attended to each and every business detail during our marriage."
In September 1991, the Reggies entered into an agreement with the IRS to pay the back taxes for 1975, 1976 and 1977, but the liability was limited to Edmund Reggie only, according to the lawsuit.
Reggie acknowledged in an interview in 1992 that he owed back taxes, most in connection with his investment, along with two dozen other partners, in a failed office complex in Jefferson Parish, the Lakeway Center.
He said at the time that the IRS was seeking to "recapture" tax credits the partners initially obtained for investing in the project.
Neither Reggie lawyer John Craton nor U.S. Attorney Don Washington could be reached for comment Monday.
Reggie's daughter, Victoria Reggie, is married to U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.
Copyright 2004, The Advocate,
Capital City Press, Baton Rouge, La.
From: The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 3, 2004. Section: NEWS. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C. § 107 for a non-profit educational purpose.