Jack Long: The Tax Avenger!
by Austin Rhodes
Someone alert the mayor, the sheriff and, for that matter, the Richmond County school board that their days of pinching pennies and scraping by are a thing of the past. All that outstanding tax debt and uncollected revenue should soon be rolling in and piling up. The coffers of federal, state and local government should soon be overflowing like the sewer pipes behind the new courthouse. There is hope for money-starved bureaucrats everywhere!
Jack Long has arrived. (Actually, he has been around for years, but apparently his superhero cape just arrived from the seamstress.)
The veteran attorney has come out of nowhere (his law office?) to proclaim his new-found mission to Augusta Chronicle columnist Sylvia Cooper; he intends to personally torpedo the campaign of any tax delinquent who declares for public office. He started by tattling, um, reporting that Juvenile Court Judge Willie Saunders, a recently qualified local candidate for superior court judge, has a substantial outstanding debt to the IRS.
In addition to tattling, um, reporting the delinquency to the Georgia State Elections director, he also attempted via a superior court motion to set aside to use Saunders’ tax issues to appeal a case on behalf of one of his clients who did not appreciate a recent ruling by the judge.
Upon reading the motion to have Judge Saunders’ decisions vacated, sitting Superior Court Judge David Roper used the opportunity while ruling on the issue to take Long to the woodshed/remedial civics class with the following admonition:
“This court did not assign this case to a particular judge in Juvenile Court and has no authority to recall a case transferred to such a court. If Respondent (Long) has any remedy it is in the Juvenile Court or elsewhere. The court further finds that said motion is a frivolous and reprehensible attempt to embarrass a sitting judge who has announced his candidacy for elected office… the motion is hereby denied and dismissed.”
In case you did not know, that is what is known in the most arcane legal terms as a slap down.
Of course, Long knew it was coming, perhaps not as forcefully and colorfully as Roper phrased it, but the refusal was not unexpected. Just as Roper wrote, the move was made to embarrass Saunders.
It is apparently Roper’s theory, and almost anyone else with any local knowledge of the local court system, that Judge Saunders crossed an unspeakable line by daring to challenge at the polls an established, sitting superior court judge (Carlisle Overstreet), who is currently sitting all warm and snuggly right up the fanny of the local Bar Association.
But Long denies such an agenda; “pooh-poohs” it actually. He then makes the following vow to Cooper, urging that she should never fear, he is on the case:
“If anyone else is running that has not rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, I’ll do the same thing. Taxes are what we pay for the benefit of living in a free society.”
While not nearly as catchy as the Green Lantern’s oath, it does seem to have more panache than just screaming “SHAZAM!” at the top of his lungs.
While there are dozens of state and federal candidates who have problems similar to Judge Saunders, there always seem to be plenty of locals the Chronicle catches as tax delinquents whenever they do their election season expose on such things.
Apparently the earlier revelations, literally dozens of them, came before Long was endowed with his super civic sensitivity (think Spider Sense crossed with intuitive gift of an H & R Block rep).
Now that Jack the Tax Avenger is on the case, no municipal deadbeat will be unmolested as they attempt to make their way into public office! No tax dodger will escape scrutiny! No scummy debtor to the public trust will walk without hesitation, trepidation and fear!
Wait till that Chronicle list comes out soon! Jack the Tax Avenger will cloud up and rain all over all those who fall on the delinquency list; none will escape his wrath! (Insert superhero crescendo here with a flourish of confetti and a stiff breeze to inflate the cape!)
All sarcasm aside, Jack Long is a brilliant lawyer who has a record of caring about tax delinquent politicians about as thick as my resume in advanced physics.
His problems with Saunders should have been addressed as all other issues involving sitting judges are addressed, and that is through the state Judicial Qualifications Commission. He knows that, and he knows it well. But a JQC complaint would take time, and it may not even ever become public, and that would not have the effect Long apparently wanted it to have. Which was to embarrass Willie Saunders, and to remind all the other lemmings, um, lawyers in Augusta that this is the kind of treatment you can expect if you ever attempt to challenge the status quo with the sitting “accepted” jurists of the bar.
That was likely Long’s ultimate goal. He was just hoping you wouldn’t find out about it.You Might Also Like: