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Jim Thorpe Faces Tax Evasion Charges

Jim Thorpe, the man with one of the most interesting swings in all of golfdom, is in trouble with the IRS. Unlike a slew of recent cabinet appointees and other high level government job seekers who have neglected to pay taxes, Mr. Thorpe has been charged with four counts of failure to file an income tax return and three counts of failure to pay income taxes. These charges carry a maximum 7 years in jail and up to a $3.2 million dollar fine.

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Jim Thorpe, the man with one of the most interesting swings in all of golfdom, is in trouble with the IRS.  Unlike a slew of recent cabinet appointees and other high level government job seekers who have neglected to pay taxes, Mr. Thorpe has been charged with four counts of failure to file an income tax return and three counts of failure to pay income taxes.  These charges carry a maximum 7 years in jail and up to a $3.2 million dollar fine.  We’re into high stakes stuff here, and not for the first time.  Mr. Thorpe was investigated by the IRS for failure to file tax returns for the years 1992 through 1995.  He was not prosecuted because he said he relied on the advice of two accountants. 

Mr. Thorpe has played in more than 300 Champions Tour events, earning more than $13 million.  His earning from his PGA Tour career netted him more than $2 million.  In addition he earned endorsement fees from Harrison Sports, Callaway Golf, and from sponsors such as Foxwood Casino.  The government also states he earned more than $1.7 million gambling,  which he used to continue gambling.  That last statement is indicative of the mastering of the obvious by federal prosecutors.  Hey, the guy won $1.7 million and took his winnings and was never seen inside a casino again.  Sure, and I eat one potato chip and close the bag up until tomorrow. 

 

A long time ago I was instructed by a high priced attorney there are three people you never lie to;  your lawyer first,  your clergyman second, and any representative of the IRS because the penalties for that are so severe.  That advice has stood me in good stead ever since.  So I have to wonder why after one incident with the IRS would Mr. Thorpe provide any reason at all for that agency so come snooping into his affairs a second time.  I have to believe, as with the government appointees whose dirty laundry was hung on a very public line, it’s because he thought he could get away with it.  Now before you jump to conclusions that I am convicting Mr. Thorpe without knowing anything about the details of the case here’s what his attorney Mark Horwitz had to say:  "We look forward to having a trial," Mr.  Horwitz said this afternoon. "We don’t think he’s willfully violated the law. That’s not to say he doesn’t owe the tax; but we don’t think he’s guilty of a crime."  That says to me he owes the government some money, but like the public figures this was not due to any criminal behavior but rather an honest mistake.  Pardon me if that doesn’t stretch my belief system just a tad far. 

Mr. Horwitz continued, "I think the timing of it is sort of interesting in the sense of what we’ve just seen coming out of Washington with a Cabinet secretary and some other Cabinet-level appointees," he said, referring to the tax troubles of some of President Obama’s nominees.  I have to agree with this, it does open the argument that folks in the government get treated differently than folks outside that exclusive club.  I also have to wonder why they have chosen to prosecute a professional golfer, after all this wouldn’t make the local paper were I the object of this investigation. 

I just don’t comprehend the prosecutor’s thinking in this case.  It would seem to me ill conceived and ill timed,  but then with all the other craziness going on in the country today I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  It serves as a reminder to never ever mess with the IRS. 

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  1. flyer

    Mar 19, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Tax evasion is a crime, but tax avoidance is a moral obligation. It keeps our government honest, or at least attempts to. If Thorpe crossed the line he should be forced to pony up and possible pay additional penalties, but good for him for trying. He should have used a better tax lawyer.

  2. Jiovanne

    Mar 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    There are individuals on this post who are attacking government as if it were the main issue here. Yes, sometimes the tax issue isn’t fair but we must all pay taxes. Why does Jim think because he makes more he can just evade? What makes this more interesting to me is that he’s a very outspoken individual on the growth of the game and minority involement in golf. As a role model and voicebox you’d think he’d be a little more carefull with what he does. Think before you speak.

  3. Steve

    Mar 15, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Mr. Thorpe has spent the better part of his life training & practicing for professional sports. So, he trains himself to a level in golf where most of us only dream of playing. However, when he gets to professional level our federal government decides they are owed part of his spoils. For what effort has the government decided they deserve his money? Perhaps funding entitlement programs, making our corrupt politicians more affluent seems a good idea for some. But, please consider that Mr. Thorpe has put forth a lot of effort to be able to compete at his level & I for one think as likely Mr. Thorpe does; that government is not entitled to a darn nickel of it.

  4. Jason

    Mar 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    The argument that people in the government get treated differently has been open for decades, are you just now realizing this? And of course this makes the news….Jim Thorpe is somewhat ‘famous’. Who are you? Some beat writer for the wrx? You’re right, I’m sure nobody would really care if you didn’t pay your tax.

    And a note to Mr. Thorpe, pay your taxes, please. The freeloaders in this country need you now more than ever.

  5. Jackson

    Feb 27, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    what a leech on society. the government may rip you off but Mr. Thorpe is freeloading off other tax paying citizens. It’s not like he really needs more money. Totally lost respect for this guy.

  6. Dayton

    Feb 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    How could anyone be so stupid. What possible defense could there be for not filing a return.

  7. Gary

    Feb 19, 2009 at 12:06 am

    The IRS couldn’t go after Mr. G because of the SOL. However, I do not think he is fit to serve in any governmental position.

  8. Watch

    Feb 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Plan A: Do not get caught.

    Plan B: If caught — either in intentional evasion, or in an honest mistake — do not go to jail. Make nice.

    Our federal, state and local governments rip you off twenty ways to Sunday already. No matter what the illegal law says, Big Jim does not owe the government money. But they’ll manage to steal it from him anyway.

  9. Paybax

    Feb 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    So in the US you have to pay tax on your winnings? So does that mean you can claim your losses as well?

  10. Mike Crozier

    Feb 18, 2009 at 1:14 am

    won 1.7 million gambling??? daly and mickelson should be taking lessons from this guy.

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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
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Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
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AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
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Full piece.

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Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

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Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

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To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

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To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

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To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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