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More Detroit money and tax troubles

We all know about the financial troubles facing the big three American car makers. Today we get news that many of Chrysler's salaried workers accepted pre-Thanksgiving buyouts.

That move could had a bearing on whether, or just how much, the rest of us taxpayers will eventually pick up if we ultimately add payments to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to our ever-growing bailout bill.

Detroit graphic And while all that corporate tax money drama plays out, we learn that Detroit is ground zero for other tax-related troubles.

The Detroit News' Tax Watchdog blog says a couple of the city's former professional athletes as well as an actor from Motor City have recently had run-ins with state, local and federal tax collectors.

According to the newspaper, former Detroit Tigers star Cecil Fielder owes $273,123.29 in federal taxes. The IRS filed a lien against Fielder on Nov. 25 for income taxes it says Fielder failed to pay from 2001 through 2004.

The latest bad financial news for the former slugger comes just months after the IRS had filed a $409,149 tax lien against Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, Cecil's estranged son.

Actor Vondie Curtis-Hall and his production company also reportedly owe more than $350,000 in state and federal taxes.

The Detroit News has looked at public records, which allege that Curtis-Hall, a native of Detroit, and his wife owe the IRS $274,626. California says the couple is delinquent on $82,491 due the state. The state and federal liens were filed against the Curtis-Halls and Motor City Film Corp. in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

A spokesman for the Emmy-nominated actor told his hometown newspaper that Curtis-Hall has an installment agreement, a standard practice for tax liabilities over $10,000, and is meeting that payment schedule's terms.

Another former Detroit professional athlete also had some IRS issues, but has taken care of the tax debt.

Retired Red Wing John Ogrodnick had a $752,590 overdue IRS bill, based on income taxes from 2000. But the week before Thanksgivings, reports the Tax Watchdog, the five-time NHL All Star completely paid off the tax lien.

I know that Detroit is not unusual in its number of delinquent tax payers. But these days, any financial and tax news out of Motor City gets added attention.

Good for Curtis-Hall and Ogrodnick and good luck to Fielder. Maybe the two guys who are taking care of their tax issues need to drop by the Big Three executive offices and give those high-flying guys a little advice about personal fiscal responsibility.


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