California Publisher Faces Tax Fraud Charges

By: E&P Staff

A longtime California newspaper editor/publisher has been indicted for underreporting his income from the publications.

The Contra Costa (Calif.) Times reported that Harry Warren Green has been charged by a grand jury with four counts of aiding and abetting the preparation of a false tax return between 2000 and 2003. The indictment was officially announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello.

Green, 51, has been associated with several Contra Costa County newspapers since the late 1980s, including the Brentwood Bee, and the bi-weekly Clayton Pioneer, which was sold in 2003 to Tamara and Bob Steiner. Green is still listed as the editor of the Rio Vista Beacon on that paper’s Web site, and he has also been associated with the Discovery Bay Clipper, Oakley Herald, Lamorinda Independent and Pleasant Hill Gazette.

According to the indictment, Green is accused of reporting between $140,000 and $170,000 in gross annual income between 2000 and 2003. His actual publishing income was “substantially” greater, the indictment adds.

According to the Contra Costa Times’ report, Green was investigated by the district attorney’s office in 1997 for activities related to his public relations firm in East Contra Costa, which often worked for local political campaigns. In that case, a letter surfaced, written by Green, “offering to help a Brentwood Lucky store secure relocation by leveraging his relationships with the City Council.”

“Terms included a bonus payment if he was successful,” the report continues, “which at the time was thought to violate political reform laws barring lobbyist payments hinging on a political outcome. The District Attorney’s Office later dropped the probe after deciding restrictions on lobbying offers such as Green’s applied only to state legislators, not locally elected officials.”

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