Sam Zell Trying to Dodge Cubbies Taxes

Greedy old man at it again

By Steve Rhodes
|  Thursday, Sep 24, 2009  |  Updated 4:17 PM CDT
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To Zell With the Cubs, Too

AP

Sam Zell will be working his grave dancing magic once again.

Sam Zell just might be the Worst Person in Chicago.

He's already under investigation by screwed creditors examining the details of his kinky and highly leveraged purchase of the Tribune Company, which he restructured in such a way as to avoid paying taxes.

Now he's working on an arrangement to sell the Cubs that would do something similar, costing the U.S. Treasury about $300 million -- or 10 times Milton Bradley's outlandish salary.

At least one prominent tax expert says the IRS will probably challenge the Cubs deal.

Will it never end?

In addition to the Grave Dancer, which references Zell's knack for spotting undervalued assets given up for dead, Zell's tax avoidance schemes have led master business journalist Allan Sloan to give him a new nickname : the Artful Dodger.

That's for his ability to dodge taxes.

But it's not funny.

Zell finds ways to stretch provisions in the law beyond anything comprehended by tax code writers to pad his already obscenely bulging wallet - and leaves the rest of us holding the bag.

Sam Zell doesn't just hate taxes; he seems to hate people as well.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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