State's biggest tax cheats

minor-halsey-minor-lede-slide.jpgThe Franchise Tax Board says it's Cnet founder Halsey Minor and his wife Shannon. The couple owes $13.1 million in personal income taxes to the state, nearly $5 million more than the next biggest tax delinquent in the state. Here's what Minor told the WSJ's Digits blog in an email:

Minor said he had cash-flow issues that stem from moves by a lender to put liens on all his liquid assets, actions that he said are illegal and that he is now fighting in court. "I guess you could say the good news is I made a lot of money in tough times," he wrote.

Funny. The NY Post reported that Minor had been ordered by a judge to pay Sotheby's $6.6 million after he reneged on bids for three paintings. Minor argued he should have been allowed to back out of the deal. None of these less-than-flattering reports is a big surprise. From a 2008 article in Portfolio:

There's no shortage of people eager to offer up a snide (and usually anonymous) remark or two about Minor, who 15 years ago founded the tech-news company CNET and who now runs Minor Ventures. One former CNET board member calls Minor a "pathological" person who sees everything as "a zero-sum game." Other acquaintances of Minor's say that he has burned so many bridges over the years that even those who made a killing off CNET when it went public in 1996 refuse to speak to him now. I ask Minor why so many people are intent on taking him down a notch. He shrugs. "Warren Buffett is not on Wall Street, and Bill Gates is not in Silicon Valley, and I don't at all care what's happening outside Minor Ventures."

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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