Grant Thornton Isn’t Going to Take This $100 Million Tax Shelter Ruling Lying Down

See, and you guys say we never listen to you. This comes from this morning's open items thread:

Is it true that Grant Thornton lost a $100MM lawsuit regarding tax shelters?

Accounting Today has the best scoop I've seen so far on this matter:

A Kentucky circuit court judge has ruled that Grant Thornton is liable for more than $100 million in damages to be paid to a business owner and his family after he was sold an offshore tax shelter that the Internal Revenue Service considered abusive.

After a month-long trial, Kenton Circuit Court judge Patricia Summe ordered Grant Thornton to pay Bill Yung, the president of the Crestview Hills, Ky.-based hotel company Columbia Sussex, his wife Martha and the 1994 William J. Yung Family Trust a total of more than $100 million, including $20.22 million in compensatory damages, and $80 million in punitive damages. Yung and his family were represented in the case by the law firm Graydon Head, based in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.

Judge Summe concluded in a ruling last Friday that Grant Thornton's conduct toward the Yungs was "reprehensible," further finding that the fraud continued from 2000 all the way through trial. She also found that Grant Thornton's actions harmed Bill Yung's reputation and contributed to his inability to secure licensure from the Missouri Gaming Commission in 2005.

The IRS' merciless hunt for tax shelters is nothing new, and it's only slightly hilarious that GT apparently set this up right around the time the Treasury Department made a move to get to cracking down on this practice.

This decision is 6 years in the making and not over yet, as Grant Thornton plans to appeal according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.  "We are disappointed in the Court's ruling and believe we have strong grounds for an appeal, which we will pursue," GT spokeswoman Michele Mazur told CBC.

Stay tuned, children.

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