Time: Tue Jun 10 12:42:29 1997
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	Tue, 10 Jun 1997 12:42:21 -0700 (MST)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 12:41:27 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: IRS Hit With $250,000 Punitive Damage Award (fwd)

More signs they're breaking up.

Glory Halleluia!!

/s/ Paul Mitchell

>IRS Hit With $250,000 Punitive Damage Award
>A federal judge in Denver has awarded $250,000 in punitive damages to a
>woman whose family business was raided by armed Internal Revenue Service
>agents four weeks after the woman insulted an IRS agent.
>The revenue agents padlocked all three Kids Avenue clothing stores in
>Colorado Springs, and posted notices that some customers interpreted as
>evidence that the woman, Carole Ward, 49, was a drug smuggler.
>In a harshly worded 17-page opinion, Judge William Downes of the U.S.
>District Court in Denver found that one of the IRS agents, James Dolan, was
>"grossly negligent" and acted with "reckless disregard" for the law, and
>he made three false statements in a sworn declaration.
>The judge, who said the actions by the IRS agents violated Ms. Ward's
>privacy rights, wrote that the punitive damages award "gives notice to the
>IRS that reprehensible abuse of authority by one of its employees cannot
>will not be tolerated."
>The judge also awarded Ms. Ward $75,000 in actual damages plus lawyers'
>Both the IRS and the Justice Department, which defended the lawsuit,
>declined comment on the decision. During a nine-day trial the IRS denied
>any wrongdoing.
>Don Roberts, an IRS spokesman, said that in the past five years about 30
>lawsuits a year had been filed claiming wrongful disclosure of confidential
>information, but that the service had no data on the outcome of those cases.
>William Waller and Denis Mark, Ms. Ward's attorneys, said that their
>research found only a handful of awards for IRS privacy violations, most of
>them for nominal sums. A Missouri man, Elvis Johnson, has been awarded $15.8
>million in damages and interest, plus attorneys' fees, in a 1983 case, but it
>is still in litigation and the award has not been paid.
>The Colorado case began in 1993 when agent Paula Dzierzanowski audited tax
>returns filed by Tristan Ward, who was then 20. He listed himself as the
>owner of Kids Avenue and his mother as a dependent.
>Mrs. Ward said she accompanied her son to one audit, a rancorous meeting
>that ended, according to testimony, with Mrs. Ward telling Ms. Dzierzanowski:
>"Honey, from what I can see of your accounting skills the country would be
>better served if you were dishing up chicken-fried steak on some Interstate
>in West Texas, with all the clunky jewelry and big hair."
>The raid, known as a jeopardy assessment, was made four weeks later after
>Ms. Dzierzanowski asserted that the government was in danger of not
>collecting $324,000 in income taxes. In court papers the agent said her
>action stemmed largely from questions about whether the son really owned
>business and concerns over Ms. Ward's travels to Ecuador, where her husband
>Three months after the raid, the government settled the tax dispute,
>covering six years, for $3,485.
>Downes also criticized Gerald Swanson, an IRS district director, and an
>aide, Patricia Callahan. As guests on a Colorado Springs radio talk show,
>they said that Ms. Ward still owed $324,000 in taxes, even though they knew
>that the bill had been settled the week before for little more than 1 percent
>of that amount.
>Ms. Ward said her daughter, Kelly, had to quit high school because the IRS
>statements posted on the stores led students to believe the family was
>engaged in drug smuggling. She said the family had no debts at the time of
>the raid but now owed $75,000.
>The family lost its lease on one store, she said, but has opened new ones
>in the Denver area and in New Mexico. She said that only two-thirds of the
>goods and equipment seized in the raid was returned, much of it badly
>"I never should have spoken condescendingly," Ms. Ward said Wednesday.
>"That was wrong, but what they did to me for mouthing off was criminal."
>Copyright 1997 The New York Times
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Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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