A look at Judge Larry Seidlin's financial disclosure forms not only shows that he never reported any gifts from wealthy widow Barbara Kasler, but they also reveal that the feds hit him for $11,000 in taxes and penalties for allegedly failing to report profits he made from stocks in 2004.
The IRS notified Seidlin of the apparent oversight in a letter this past September 11, informing the judge that it had learned from a third party that he'd earned $27,763 from stocks he owned in a Boca Raton company called JAG Media Holdings, Inc. Seidlin included the "Notice of Deficiency," as it's called, in his latest financial disclosure, which he filed on June 5.
He lists his net worth on the disclosure at $1.2 million (up from $710,000 in 2002), with assets including his Marine Tower condo and a house in Pennsylvania. A look at five years worth of disclosures and income tax returns also shows that, in 2003, the same year Kasler signed over an empty lot in Palm Bay to his wife, a $135,000 equity loan from the previous year disappeared from Seidlin's debts.
Not trying to relay a lot of meaning here. Just the facts.
After the jump: I Blow Off Some AP-propriate Steam
I mentioned the arrest of Gary Troutman in a post below in a 21-year-old murder case. Elgin Jones, a friend of victim Angela Savage's family, scooped everybody on that, even the BSO media relations office. And just about every media outlet, from newspapers to TV, followed the Broward Times -- yet none credited Jones or his publication.
What bunk. I have a similar complaint regarding the Seidlin story. All across the state and country, the Seidlin gifts story has been reported, yet only the Sun-Sentinel, whose coverage has been lame at best (certainly inferior to the Miami Herald, for instance), has been cited. Why? Because the Associated Press issued an imprecise and poorly written story on the matter.
The AP's Kelli Kennedy lazily wrote that the investigation was sparked by a "newspaper article." You'd think a news organization largely based on disseminating other newspapers' work would bother to accurately and specifically source their reports, especially the original source.
But you have to read the story to understand how bad it really is, sourcing notwithstanding. Here's the top:
The Broward State Attorney's Office asked Gov. Charlie Crist Monday to launch an independent investigation into allegations of impropriety against the judge who presided in the dispute over Anna Nicole Smith's remains.
The state attorney's office said it received a complaint from a lawyer regarding Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin and possible gifts he may have accepted from another attorney who actively represented clients in his court. Another judge was also mentioned in the article for accepting gifts from the same lawyer and the state attorney's office has also asked for an investigation.
The letter to Crist said the possible improprieties were detailed in a newspaper article last week.
Is there an editor at AP?
First off, to nit-pick a little, the state attorney's office can't "say" anything. It's an office.
Second, she cites "the article" before she explains to the reader that it exists.
Third, "possible gifts he may have accepted" may possibly be qualification overkill.
Fourth, the use of the term "actively represented" would make any decent copy editor actively cringe.
Fifth, "Another judge was also mentioned in the article for accepting gifts from the same lawyer and the state attorney's office has also asked for an investigation" is an abomination of a sentence.
And that's just the first three graphs.
Okay, I'm done. Just needed to get that out of my system.