Local massage parlor operator Harold Johnson O'Brien has been found guilty of failing to pay District taxes on thousands of dollars in business and personal income.
In a four-day D.C. Superior Court trial, city tax officials testified that their records show that O'Brien has never paid personal income taxes since he became a District resident in 1963.They also said O'Brien refused to pay income taxes on his businesses from 1973 to 1975.
Evidence submitted in the trial showed that O'Brien sometimes earned more than $90,000 a year in personal income over that time.
The government's case focused on taxes it said O'Brien owed on American Services Inc., a photocopying firm he had operated at 1346 Connecticut Ave, NW.
Witnesses testified that O'brien had offered an employe a percentage of the firm's income to claim she owned the business. At its height, the company employed seven persons and had hundreds of clients, including some of the Ralph Nader organizations and several large law firms.
In addition, city officials testified that O'brien owned taxes on several "outcall" massage businesses and dating services he operated under several aliases.
O'brien's lawyer Barbara Kammerman, who called no witnesses, argued that the city's prosecution of her client amounted to a government vendetta. She contended that her client's businesses were similar to the services provided by doctors, dentists and architects and thus exempted from the District's business tax.
Tax evasion charges brought against O'brien in 1977 had been dismissed by Judge John G. Penn, who ruled that the city government had not told O'brien that he had to file his sales tax payments by a particular date.