Attorney-at-Law

“AND YOU WERE BY MY SIDE”

In Uncategorized on 06/18/2020 at 16:24

This refrain from an ancient wheeze (the punchline of which cannot well be set forth in a blog meant for family reading) befits John E. Rogers and Frances L. Rogers, et al.. 2020 T. C. Memo. 91, filed 6/18/20, but it’s Frances’ story.

She wants innocent spousery (again, though her previous efforts along that line did not end well), but for different years.

Judge Goeke, successor to Judge Wherry in this never-ending saga, though sympathetic, isn’t buying. And Judge Kerrigan was down this road before, as well. See my blogpost “When All Else Fails – Redivivus,” 7/3/17.

John E. and Frances, married fifty (count ‘em, fifty) years and devoted to each other, also worked closely together through all the years at issue. Frances was a lawyer, as well as a chemist, a real estate investor, licensed real estate broker, and developer with an MBA, and a teacher with a doctorate in educational administration. Though times were tough (John was an alcoholic and their son had a tough life), she was by his side throughout, paying bills, balancing checking accounts, but claims that before John was hospitalized “I did not understand how to read a credit card or bank statement until my husband was suddenly hospitalized from growing depression in 2009, when I was immediately faced with these matters.” 2020 T. C. Memo. 91, at p. 7.

Now maybe the items at issue fall more on John E’s side than Frances’, but that isn’t the point. Frances also laid off assets and helped John do likewise.

Frances claims she relied solely upon John E, the great tax lawyer. Except.

“…the facts and Mrs. Rogers’ own testimony are inconsistent with her factual summary. Mrs. Rogers was well aware that in 2011 they lost their case in this Court regarding 2003 joint tax liabilities, Rogers v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2011-277, aff’d, 728 F.3d 673 (7th Cir. 2013).” 2020 T. C. Memo. 91, at pp. 18-19.

And if she weren’t aware, she could have read my blogpost “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood – The Adventure Continues,” 11/23/11.

Nothing daunted, “(N)evertheless, she testified, ‘I figured that at some point he’d win.’ Mrs. Rogers maintained control of the home and office banking in the years at issue. She monitored and wrote checks related to the litigation which flowed from Mr. Rogers’ tax advice and related pass-through entities such as Jetstream and the Sugarloaf Fund.

“The relentless IRS attack on the tax shelters Mr. Rogers promoted also should not have been lost on Mrs. Rogers. She should have know [sic] further investigation was required. Ultimately these failed tax schemes have increased the Rogerses’ joint tax liabilities, and Mrs. Rogers clearly must have suspected what was coming. Early in the years at issue a grand jury subpoena was served at their home, and she had sat through months of trials involving Mr. Rogers’ tax schemes and her own joint liabilities during the preceding decade. She was also aware of his dispute with his former law firm and the litigation related to client suits about his failed advice.” 2020 T. C. Memo. 91, at p. 19. (Citation omitted).

“While Mrs. Rogers’ blind confidence in her husband evidences her love and devotion, her emotional decision to ignore the facts and circumstances she well knew on an intellectual level is not a lack of knowledge for purposes of section 6015(b)(1)(C) and (D) and (f). We have explained Mrs. Rogers’ education and her thirst for knowledge. Her willingness to set aside her intellect to support Mr. Rogers does not cause her to be eligible for relief from her joint tax liabilities.” 2020 T. C. Memo. 91, at pp. 20-21.

But the title first set forth at the head hereof (as my capairiñha-quaffing, high-priced colleagues would say) echoes the words of Judge Goeke’s envoi.

“Mrs. Rogers was by Mr. Rogers’ side every step of that unfortunate, ill-fated journey. She cannot credibly assert she had no reason to know what was coming.” 2020 T. C. Memo. 91, at p. 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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