F. Lee Bailey was once so famous that he’d regularly appear on television and even played himself in a movie. He did so much screen work that he evidently entitled himself to money in retirement. It wasn’t much, but under heavy debt, it’s become important. Now, however, the same week that his former client O.J. Simpson was released from prison, a bankruptcy judge is allowing the Internal Revenue Service to enforce federal tax liens on more than $1,000 a month in pensions from the SAG-AFTRA.
Bailey, 84, is now disbarred after a scandal erupted over misappropriated funds tied to a French smuggler he had been representing. He runs a consulting business in an apartment above a salon. He’s in bankruptcy thanks to more than $5 million the government asserts he owes in tax debt.
Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminated his personal obligation to repay the IRS, liens on his personal property securing the IRS claim survived the case. So in June, Bailey filed a second Chapter 13 petition and provided notice of assets including his pensions from the actors’ guild, another pension from United Airlines, and his Social Security benefits.
The IRS sought a modification of an automatic stay to enforce tax liens on the pensions, and despite Bailey’s arguments he should be allowed to adjudicate the amount of the IRS’ claims, a Maine bankruptcy judge on Tuesday granted the tax agency’s motion.
Here’s the order, which comes just a few days after Simpson walked out of a Nevada prison with his own NFL and SAG pensions protected from the tens of millions of dollars owed to the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. The law treats the IRS more generously than those owed civil judgments.