[Marxism] Survivor goes down
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jan 22 09:31:04 MST 2006
(This article fails to address the consistency between screwing one's
fellow reality TV show competitors and tax fraud. They are not at odds with
each other but are rather different aspects of becoming Capitalist Man.)
NY Times, January 22, 2006
A New Reality for First 'Survivor' Winner: Tax Evasion Trial
By PAM BELLUCK
PROVIDENCE, R.I., Jan. 20 - Reality television met its match when it found
He was the "naked fat guy" who speared fish and killed rats as a tropical
island castaway in the first season of "Survivor." He was the man with a
plan from the get-go to get rid of the other 15 castaways, and with
Machiavellian mojo, he pulled it off and won a million dollars.
Now, six years later, Mr. Hatch is starring in a different kind of survival
contest. He is on trial for failing to pay taxes on his million-dollar
windfall, charged in a 10-count indictment with tax evasion, filing false
income tax returns, wire fraud, bank fraud and mail fraud. He faces up to
30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Federal prosecutors have put on a parade of accountants, tax men and others
who say "Survivor's" first success story cheated on his taxes by filing a
return that showed him entitled to a refund, instead of reflecting the
hundreds of thousands of dollars he owed the government. He is also accused
of failing to pay taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars of other
income, and of using money to renovate his houses when it was intended for
a charity he formed.
On Friday, Mr. Hatch, who had parlayed his newfound fame into appearances
on "Hollywood Squares," "Entertainment Tonight," a "Got Milk?"
advertisement and other gigs, took the stand himself.
He is no longer fat, thanks to post-"Survivor" surgery to remove the flaps
of stretched-out skin that were seen by 51 million viewers. And he was no
longer naked, to the relief of probably everyone, although his courtroom
wardrobe has been an unusually casual mix of sweaters and shirts unbuttoned
at the collar.
Standing in the witness box for nearly five hours, frequently gesturing and
looking at the jury, Mr. Hatch sought to portray his tax situation as
complicated and confusing, especially for someone grappling with instant
fame and stresses involving his adopted son.
"Never from the beginning have I ever had any intention but to get this
resolved and paid as due," said Mr. Hatch, 44, a corporate trainer from
Middletown, R.I., who taught seminars in skills like team-building and
The charges have elicited bemused and befuddled reactions from many.
Charlie Hall, a Rhode Island comedian and cartoonist, drew Mr. Hatch in his
birthday suit standing before a judge who advised his lawyer to "inform
your client Mr. Hatch that the immunity necklace he won on 'Survivor' will
not keep him out of prison for tax evasion."
Some fellow "survivors" are dumbstruck.
"I really have no idea what he could possibly be thinking in terms of how
he could get away with this," said Dirk Been, another member of the
original cast who said he was "known on the show as the Christian guy and
the virgin and the Bible thumper" and differed with Mr. Hatch about
religion. "Maybe the things that won him the game are the things that are
hurting him now as far as his way of dealing with things and rules and laws."
Sonja Christopher, 68, a ukulele and banjo player who was the first to be
voted off the island, said she had "always been a supporter of Rich" and
admired him as "a very intelligent person" she considered confident but not
arrogant. She has seen him several times since the show and exchanged
In one message, about six months ago, she said, "he casually dropped, 'Oh
by the way, I may be spending some jail time,' that they had been after him
for about two years on his taxes."
Ms. Christopher said she wrote back, " 'What in the blankety-blank-blank
were you thinking?' and then I tried to lighten it up with 'I'll send you a
cake with a file in it.' "
She said Mr. Hatch never replied.
Mr. Hatch testified that "Survivor's" producers at CBS had told him they
would pay his taxes, even though he signed a contract saying he would pay
taxes on any winnings. Mr. Hatch's lawyer, Michael Minns, a Texan who has
built a career battling the Internal Revenue Service, wanted Mr. Hatch to
be able to testify that the producers promised to pay the taxes because Mr.
Hatch caught some people working for CBS trying to undermine his chances of
winning by sneaking food to other contestants. But Judge Ernest C. Torres
would not allow the jury to hear that testimony.
Mr. Hatch said he tried to find out if the network had paid any of his
taxes, but his telephone and e-mail messages were not returned. So,
although two different accountants prepared returns for him showing he owed
either $374,000 or $234,800, Mr. Hatch asked one of the accountants to
prepare a return that did not reflect the $1 million, one that showed him
entitled to a $4,483 refund.
And although that accountant warned him not to file it and even had him
sign a letter advising him against it, Mr. Hatch acknowledged in testimony
that that was the return he filed.
"All I wanted to do was find out whether or not the taxes due on the
million dollars or some portion of them had been paid," Mr. Hatch said. "I
just didn't want to pay them if they had already been paid."
Last week, Mark Burnett, the executive producer of "Survivor," testified
that Mr. Hatch's contract made him responsible for the taxes. He was not
asked whether he or others had promised to pay them for Mr. Hatch.
The prosecutor, Lee Vilkers, said the Hatch situation was simple, noting
that the check and 1099 tax form from "Survivor" showed that the show had
paid none of his taxes, and that in his book, "101 Survival Secrets: How to
Make $1,000,000, Lose 100 Pounds, and Just Plain Live Happily," Mr. Hatch
wrote he expected to owe taxes on his winnings.
"Are you saying you are still confused about whether or not you had to pay
taxes on that money?" Mr. Vilkers asked, noting that Mr. Hatch spent nearly
$700,000 on landscaping and renovation instead of paying the I.R.S.
Mr. Hatch also said he was overwhelmed by his sudden celebrity and by
charges accusing him of abusing his then-9-year-old adopted son, Chris, by
forcing him to exercise. Chris was temporarily placed in foster care, where
Mr. Hatch said he had spent most of his life until Mr. Hatch adopted him at
"It was extremely difficult," said Mr. Hatch, who said Chris had serious
behavior problems. The charges against Mr. Hatch were dismissed and Chris
was returned to him.
In addition to not reporting $326,540 he earned being a co-host of a Boston
radio program or $19,000 in rental income, Mr. Hatch is accused of spending
on himself $36,500 in donations he raised for a charity he re-established
to provide wilderness training to troubled youths. Mr. Hatch said the
charity, Horizon Bound, was legitimate, a longtime goal for him because the
program had helped him as a teenager.
But Mr. Hatch may have inadvertently admitted a propensity to bend the
rules when he said that he signed the name of a former lover, Ralph Magee,
and listed him as a Horizon Bound officer without his knowledge. He said
that for years he had signed Mr. Magee's name on forms "very, very often,"
and had him pretend to be an employee so that clients would think Mr.
Hatch's company was "more than a one-man show."
More information about the Marxism