Naturally, Michael Avenatti Owes More Than a Million Dollars in Taxes
A new report shows that the 2020 hopeful has a shady financial history that rivals the current president's.
Photo of Michael Avenatti by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Michael Avenatti—Stormy Daniels's lawyer and 2020 presidential hopeful—personally owes the IRS $1.2 million, according to a new report from the Daily Beast. Additionally, his former law firm, Eagan Avenatti, and his now defunct Seattle coffee chain reportedly owe millions in taxes, as well as hundreds of thousands in unpaid rent.
As it turns out, Avenatti, whose bombastic opposition to Trump mirrors the man he outspokenly despises, is in a financial predicament that rivals the president's own shady history. Per the Daily Beast:
Both the Eagan Avenatti law firm and a shuttered Seattle coffee chain, which Avenatti says he no longer owns, owe millions in unpaid taxes and judgments, according to court documents and filings with local recorder’s offices. Tax liens filed in Orange County also show that Avenatti has personally owed at least $1.2 million in federal taxes on top of the corporate debts.
On Monday, a California judge also ordered the lawyer to pay $4.85 million to Jason Frank, an attorney who worked at Eagan Avenatti. The ruling comes as a sort of penalty—a judge had previously ordered Avenatti to pay Frank $10 million in unpaid compensation, which he reportedly failed to do. In a retort seemingly inspired by Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, Avenatti responded to Frank's claims by calling them "completely bogus" and suggesting that Frank actually owes Avenatti $10 million for allegedly stealing his clients. Basically: I know you are, but what am I?
The Seattle coffee chain that the lawyer purchased at a bankruptcy auction, is also in debt to the agency, and in court for failing to pay licensing fees to Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
The report also notes that while Avenatti and his various businesses were millions in debt to the IRS, he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with his second wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, traveling the world on private jets or in business class, collecting fine art and fancy cars, buying multimillion dollar homes, and allowing Storie-Avenatti to rack up $60,000-$70,000 in credit card bills every month.
During Storie-Avenatti's divorce proceedings, and in his Frank's lawsuit, both plaintiffs have requested to see Avenatti's tax returns. According to the Beast, "It’s unclear if either party ever obtained those documents. Avenatti’s lawyers called the requests 'unduly burdensome and oppressive' and said the demand for tax returns 'violates the right to financial privacy.'" And in July, the judge assigned to his divorce proceedings scolded the 2020 hopeful for not handing over his tax returns and other financial documents.
When asked why he won't release his tax returns in August, Avenatti had the perfectly Trumpian retort: "But where are Donald Trump’s tax returns?”
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.