John Wiley Price Tax Preparer: Commissioner Never Disclosed Income From Associates

John Wiley Price's longtime accountant who prepared his taxes said Tuesday that the commissioner did not tell him about money he received outside of his county salary from his associates. Russell Baity acknowledged under questioning from a prosecutor that he did not know about money Price allegedly received from rent payments, art sales, real estate profits and a civil court judgment.Baity, a Dallas accountant, said he also prepared the taxes of Price's co-defendants: Kathy Nealy, his friend and political consultant, and Dapheny Fain, his chief of staff.Prosecutors say the nearly $1 million Price received from Nealy over a decade in the form of cash, vehicles and land were bribes for taking official actions to help her clients who had business at the county. They say Price also earned money from Fain and an art gallery that he didn't report to the IRS. Price's defense attorneys have argued during the trial, now in its fourth week, that the money Price received from Nealy and Fain was repayment for loans or expense reimbursements. Such payments don't have to be reported to the IRS as income. The defense attorneys say it's difficult for Price to defend himself against bribery and tax evasion charges stemming from financial transactions that occurred as many as 15 years ago.Shirley Baccus-Lobel, Price's lead attorney, on Tuesday showed Baity checks from Nealy to Price in which the memo lines indicated the payments were for repairs and renovations done at her properties."Commissioner Price was taking care of business for her," Baccus-Lobel said.Nealy will be tried separately.Rental incomeAssistant U.S. Attorney Walt Junker told the judge he wanted to use a 2000 Price financial disclosure from his 1996 bankruptcy case as a "starting point" and then use his annual salary from tax returns to show that Price didn't have large sums of money to loan to Nealy or Fain.On the contrary, Nealy was paying money to Price, he said."You'll have an uphill climb here," U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn told Junker. "This isn't a bankruptcy fraud case...I'm not going to throw the kitchen sink in there just because the word, conspiracy, is in the indictment."  Continue reading...

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