This was posted Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
USA Network's "Chrisley Knows Best" star Todd Chrisley may have left Atlanta last year for fresh scenery in Nashville but WSB-TV uncovered evidence that he may have left years of unpaid Georgia state taxes in his wake.
Chrisley's past financial troubles have been chronicled before, including a 2012 bankruptcy filing where he claimed to be $49 million in debt. RadarOnline said the case was discharged in 2015. But the same site recently reported that earlier this year that Chrisley and his wife Julie have not paid $150,000 of a $230,000 fine to date. As a result, the trustee asked the U.S. bankruptcy court to hold the Chrisleys in civil contempt, ordering more fines and revoking the bankruptcy discharge.
A judge is scheduled to hear the case February 16.
None of these financial issues have ever been broached on the show, which shows his family as comfortably wealthy without a monetary care in the world.
Ironically, the family's financial problems appear to be over thanks to the success of the reality show, which clearly compensates them well for their popular sitcom-style reality show. Chrisley's eye-rolling, often over-the-top efforts to police his kids while flinging out hilarious Southern-isms has charmed fans of the show since 2014. Season five is set to debut February 21.
WSB-TV talked to a former bankruptcy trustee Jason Pettie, who oversaw one of Chrisley's filings who said he has seen no evidence Chrisley filed state taxes for many years. He also allegedly misled officials about living in Florida, which has no state income tax, before admitting his actual residence in Georgia and moving the bankruptcy case there.
"You've seen his federal tax returns and he claimed to be a Florida resident on those?" Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer asked Pettie.
Pettie said he had seen returns from 2004 through 2011. Fleischer asked if he'd seen any Georgia tax returns.
"No," Pettie replied. "They haven't been filed."
When Fleischer arrived at Chrisley's home to gain a comment, he drove away.
In an interview with Domenick Nati, Chrisley brushed off the residency and income tax issues. He questioned how a member of the press could have his filings. (He clearly did not read the WSB-TV story clearly because the reporter merely talked to a bankruptcy trustee who saw his tax returns from 2004 to 2011 and did not see the couple paying Georgia taxes. She never appeared to actually see them herself.)
"I've been a Florida resident over 15 years," he told Nati. "So my taxes are have always been filed. And if I don't make money in Georgia, I don't pay taxes on it in Georgia. So I'm not worried about some off-beat reporter trying to attach her name to my name in order to have a name." (Fleischer, by the way, hardly needs to attach her name to a reality star. She has been with WSB-TV for 10 years as an investigative reporter and has won numerous awards. And I'm certain she makes far more than $35,000 a year, as he claimed.)
He said he has paid $750,000 to $1 million in federal taxes every year. If that's true, he claims to be generating at least $2 million a year in taxable income after deductions, based on 2016 tables. Outside of the reality show itself, it's unclear where else he creates income because he doesn't appear to have a regular job, although his wife has been shown to do real estate.
He did not specifically address the issue of whether he paid Georgia state income taxes in the years the trustee referenced. He also didn't say why he chose not to talk to Fleischer.