Every tax is a pay cut. Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation
|Letter sent to IRS on King's accuser||Friday, Auguest 29, 2003|
|Rob Haneisen||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- After being accused of playing strip poker with Town Manager
George King and challenging men to push-up contests in the selectmen's
office, administrative assistant Karen Potter is striking back.
Potter yesterday filed a letter with the Internal Revenue Service claiming Seth Levenson -- her sister Allison's estranged husband and the man who filed a state ethics commission complaint against King -- has not filed tax returns in several decades.
Potter said Levenson's tactics of embarrassing her, her sister and King warrant a close examination of Levenson's background and credibility.
"I just feel that if he is purporting to be an ethical person, the public should be aware that he is not necessarily so ethical," Potter said.
When told of the letter and allegations, Levenson said, "I have no response. You'll have to speak to my lawyer."
His attorney, John L. Daly, could not be reached for comment.
Potter sent a letter to the IRS's criminal investigation branch in Andover. In the letter she said Levenson, a self-employed carpenter, has bragged that he hasn't paid taxes "since the Carter administration."
"Yet over all these years," she wrote, "he has supported himself and driven nice vehicles."
Levenson is in the middle of a bitter domestic dispute with Allison Potter. Two weeks ago he sent a letter to the State Ethics Commission claiming Karen Potter, King and several others participated in a strip poker game.
Allison Potter, Levenson claims, did not participate and was later laid off from her $50,000 administrative assistant job in King's office in a round of budget cuts.
Karen Potter, who worked in the same office, received an $11,000 pay raise.
Last week, selectmen decided the complaint was pointless to pursue in a 4-0 vote with King critic and vice chairwoman Ginger Esty abstaining from the executive session vote.
During the public session at that meeting, Levenson planned to read a statement to selectmen about his complaint, but he was arrested before the session started for violating a restraining order taken out by Allison Potter.
Levenson's estranged wife takes notes at the selectmen's meetings.
Levenson still attempted to enter the Ablondi Room in the Memorial Building after being warned by Police Chief Steven Carl that doing so would result in his arrest. When he tried to go inside, Carl arrested him.
Levenson's next Framingham court appearance will be Sept. 3 to determine if the restraining order remains active.
In Karen Potter's letter to the IRS, she names people Levenson has worked for in recent years, his date of birth and Social Security number -- information that will aid the IRS in tracking down any wrongdoing.
"Reporting from the public, it's one of our best sources of information," said IRS Special Agent Steven Hickey with the Boston Field Office, which covers the six New England states.
In her letter, Karen Potter indicates that Levenson brought this complaint on himself.
"I felt this information should be reported since Mr. Levenson seems to have a strong interest in government and ethical conduct," she wrote. "Someone with such dedication to good government should certainly be required to comply with the voluntary tax system of the United States of America."
Though unable to comment on specific cases, Hickey said agents typically evaluate and investigate the basics of a complaint and then decide on proceeding further.
Agents also must consider the source of the complaint.
"When the motivation is revenge, it doesn't mean the information isn't credible but you're concerned as an investigator," Hickey said.
"It's invasive and you don't want to cause anyone any undue duress or go through an investigation unless there is probable cause that a crime is being committed."
Karen Potter said she doesn't necessarily want to embarrass Levenson.
"On my level I'm more concerned that people should realize the kind of person he is," she said. "I feel more badly for the people that he's hurt than just myself."
Karen Potter said she does not want to further discuss the allegations of strip poker with her boss or push-up contests.
"It's not pertinent anymore. It was exaggerated," she said. "It's not relevant to his divorce or to my position."
Karen Potter also said complaints about her competing in brief push-up contests were puzzling.
"I feel it's pretty harmless, but if people want to see it as an abuse of office space then that's the way they want to see it," she said.
King, who as town clerk performed the marriage for Allison Potter and Levenson in 1998, said he was aware of Karen Potter's plans to talk to the IRS. He said he did not encourage her to do so.
Concerned that too many people are being hurt in the scandal, he would not comment on Levenson's credibility.
"I think it's an unfortunate continuation of the fallout of a domestic situation," King said. "It really has nothing to do with me personally or as town manager."
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