Treasure on a half shell

While dining on his half dozen clams on the half shell at one of his favorite local restaurants in Cape May, New Jersey, Mike Spressler thought he had cracked one of his molars. Fortunately for him, not only would he not have to spend thousands of dollars on a new tooth … that hard object in his mouth turned out to be a large pearl that could actually bring him thousands of dollars.1

Not only is this great news for Mr. Spressler, and likely the restaurant that will undoubtedly revamp their whole advertising campaign to highlight their “lucky clams,” it turns out it’s also a win for the U.S. Treasury. Found treasure, not surprisingly, is subject to tax. (Treas. Regs. §1.61-14(a))

And for those who want to dig into this clam treasure a little deeper, the treasure must be reported in the year “found.” So taxpayers who found $5,000 stashed away in a piano they had purchased seven years earlier were required to report the treasure in the year the money was found (not in the year they took possession, which would have put them past the statute of limitations to report).2

Luckily for Mr. Spressler, he didn’t swallow the pearl, so the “date of discovery” was not an issue.

Pearl in a shell
2 Cesarini v. U.S. (1969) U.S. District Court, Northern Dist. of Ohio, W. Div., Case No. C-67-65

Por ti, robaré

A California developer received $20 million from the City of Industry to develop a solar farm, but instead used the funds to avoid foreclosure on a La Jolla mansion, pay off old debts, and finance his daughter’s $1.7 million dollar wedding in 2017 in the French Riviera that featured a $360,000 performance by Andrea Bocelli.1

At the time the city entered into the project agreement, the developer already owed more than $50 million from past defaults, but he was provided with $20 million in funds for which there was apparently no oversight.

The city and the developer’s companies are embroiled in a lawsuit, with the city suing to get its money back and the developer’s companies countersuing the city for not allowing the project to continue.

Interestingly, an Italian surgeon who scammed an NBC producer into thinking the Pope would officiate their 2015 wedding also claimed that Andrea Bocelli would sing at the event.2 When the wedding was cancelled (after it was discovered the surgeon was not in fact the personal doctor to the Pope as he had claimed), the press reached out to Andrea Bocelli’s wife and manager about his being hired to sing for the couple and she said: “He was not booked to sing at a wedding. He doesn’t sing at people’s weddings.”

If that’s true, then who did sing at the developer’s daughter’s wedding? The mysteries and intrigues of the rich and famous continue.

Banned? Wait, what?

Totally tubular. Money, baby. It’s been a minute. Ramp up. Like skinny jeans and spiral perms and Swatch watches, certain words and phrases come in and out of fashion. As with any trend, there are early adopters and there are fad-deniers.

If you are part of this latter group, you will be in good company at Lake Superior State University in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. Since 1976, they have been publishing an annual Banished Words List in order to “uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical — and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating.” Over the years, LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations for banishment, including one in 1994 from comedian George Carlin for “baddaboom, baddabing.”

The 2022 list is topped by “Wait, what?” which earned the No. 1 spot for being “disingenuous, divergent, deflective, and other damning words that begin with the letter d.” And if your Amazon package was a little late, no more blaming the “supply chain” — that’s No. 10 this year.

That being said …

You can view the full list of 2022 Banished Words plus the reasons for banishment at:

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Sandy Weiner, J.D.Sandy Weiner, J.D., as California editor, loves all things California. Whether it's hiking at Big Sur or playing at the beach in San Diego where she lives, Sandy takes full advantage of all that California has to offer as a way to clear her head after trying to comprehend and explain California's Revenue & Taxation Code.

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and watching foreign films.

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