F. Lee Bailey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief on June 24, 2016. The bankruptcy primarily stems from a huge tax debt that Bailey has been fighting for 22 years. While the facts surrounding the tax debt are fairly complex, stemming from his representation in the 1990’s of convicted drug felon, Claude Duboc, it is likely the tax debt was largely the result of poor record keeping. Bailey was denied the benefit of claimed tax deductions for several tax years when he was unable to produce actual receipts or substantiated documentation of claimed expenses.
Lee Bailey’s Legal Background
Lee Bailey’s background, illuminated by the many articles regarding his bankruptcy filing, is fascinating. He attended Harvard University on a scholarship but walked away from it, instead signing up to serve his country as a Marine fighter pilot in the 1950’s. You can take the pilot out of the plane, but it is hard to take the plane out of the pilot. In addition to his legal practice, Bailey has operated an airplane re-manufacturing business as well as a yacht chartering service. He famously represented the Boston Strangler, heiress Patty Hearst and, of course, O.J. Simpson. But his bankruptcy filing instead portrays a rather ordinary man who now lives in Maine near the water in a condominium with a mortgage owed upon it and a car and personal property worth less than $10,000. According to Mr. Bailey “I never had a big bank balance. I always assumed that the pile of gold, as soon as it got diminished, would be replenished, replaced by something else, and there were days when that was almost true.”
This case does illuminate a fact that is often overlooked by folks struggling with tax debt, ie that tax debt can eventually become old enough to be dischargeable in bankruptcy. There is no simple rule of age that allows tax debt to become dischargeable but the age of the tax debt can certainly contribute to getting out from underneath what can be debilitating debt. If you are struggling with tax debt and want to learn how bankruptcy relief can potentially help you, please contact one of our locations nearest you in Alabama, Mississippi or Tennessee for a free, confidential consultation.
Carla M. Handy is the Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Gadsden and Anniston, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law. She has been helping families navigate consumer bankruptcy cases since 1994.Read her full bio here.