First, federal revenue agents seized the three Mercedes and the Olds stationwagon. Then the original paintings by Renoir, Chagall and Picasso. Next came the vintage Wurlitzer juke boxes, the pinball machines and the one-man band ensemble of bass drum, cymbals and horns.
By the end of the day, the government had taken one of the most exotic -- and valuable -- caches of personal belongings in Maryland tax-collecting history, all from the 200-acre estate of flamboyant national rock concert promoter Richard G. Klotzman.
"It was not one of your more routine seizures," said Internal Revenue Service spokesman Dominic J. Laponzina, who along with 20 IRS agents, two U.S. marshals and a brace of Baltimore County police officers swooped down on the posh Worthington Valley farm estate north of Baltimore Tuesday and spent the next 14 hours seizing anything that wasn't nailed down and taking it away in two tractor-trailer vans.
All for $9.5 million the IRS said Klotzman owes Uncle Sam in assorted unpaid corporate and personal taxes, penalties and interest during the past 13 years. Klotzman, a coordinator for the current 32-city concert tour of rock star Prince and a fixture in the Baltimore concert scene for 15 years, was at his home Tuesday for the government visit, Laponzina said, "and he seemed fairly docile and calm."
Laponzina said Klotzman's wife, Helene, and their daughter, were away at the time, but Klotzman's physician "was on the premises, apparently not only for moral support but also for possible medical assistance."
Neither Klotzman nor his attorney, Allen L. Schwait, could be reached today for comment on the government's seizure.
The inventory of items, which have not yet been appraised by the IRS, bespeaks a man of eclectic and expensive tastes.
By day's end Tuesday, Laponzina said, agents had taken away not only the three Mercedes and the original paintings but also several antique brass cash registers, penny arcade games, a baby grand piano, four rifles, seven handguns, several personal computers, china, crystal, silver, jewelry, a stash of expensive liquor, mink coats, antique furniture, a dozen television sets and 10 to 12 vintage "one-armed bandit" gambling machines.
But agents did not seize control of the house, Laponzina said, and Klotzman is allowed to continue living there.
"It was almost museum-like," said Laponzina. He described Klotzman's home as a "four-building complex, all connected by glass-enclosed hallways."
One of the buildings was "just the master bedroom," he said, "measuring a good 50 feet by 50 feet . . . with a walk-in Jacuzzi-type bathroom."
Out of courtesy, Laponzina said, agents left a few "minimal living items" for the Klotzmans, " . . . some bedclothes and other personal articles."
Also, he noted, agents left several horses at the farm, as well as four pedigreed Rottweiler attack dogs.
The dogs "were all caged at our request," Laponzina said.
The seizure should not have come as any surprise to Klotzman, IRS agents said.
They have filed various liens against him in recent years for allegedly unpaid corporate and personal income taxes dating as far back as 1972.
Laponzina said he is not certain if the valuables seized Tuesday will, if sold at auction, satisfy government claims.
To be on the safe side, he said, government attorneys went into federal court in Florida this week to claim Klotzman's anticipated receipts from a Prince concert scheduled in Miami for this weekend.