Friday, August 15, 2008

IRS Places Lien On Co-Op of Former Salmon Biggie

John Gutfreund, the fallen Salomon Brothers chief who in the 1980s was called the "King of Wall Street," has had his posh Fifth Avenue co-op slapped with a lien for more than $430,000 from the Internal Revenue Service, according to a document filed earlier this week with the Finance Department, says NyPo.

It's not the first time that Gutfreund, who turns 79 next month, has gotten ensnared in a tax issue. Last year, New York state slapped the former Wall Street big with a tax warrant for $230,400. Such warrants act as liens and are often filed ahead of attempts to seize property.

"I know nothing about this," said Gutfreund's accountant, Sheldon Ganis of audit firm Grant Thornton, who added he was first alerted to the existence of the lien by Gutfreund's personal assistant after she was contacted by The Post.

"Errors happen. Miscommunications happen," said Ganis, adding that he has contacted the IRS and is waiting to sort things out.

Gutfreund's wife is said to have spent $20 million transforming the couple's six-bedroom Fifth Avenue duplex into an 18th-century French-style palace.

In the early 1980's, when Gutfreund and his wife were living by the East River, New York Magazine reported on their ostentatious lifestyle which included the Gutfreunds use of the terrace above to hoist a 22-foot Christmas tree into their living room.

Gutfreund was fired from Salmon Brothers by Warren Buffett.

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