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IRS Takes Out NFL ‘Hit Man’ Bill Romanowski

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Maybe Bill Romanowski took one too many hits to the head.

The former NFL linebacker, who capped his career by copping to his “hit man” reputation in a controversial “60 Minutes” interview, was on the losing end of a $4.75 million Internal Revenue Service judgment over horse-breeding expenses.

Romo (no relation to the Cowboys’ Tony), who took his apparent love of animals seriously by injecting himself with the cells of Scottish black sheep as part of his training regimen, isn’t used to losing. He played in a number of Super Bowl games over a 16-year career with the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles while inflicting the occasional illegal hit, kick or punch to the head of his opponents. Marcus Williams after being punched by Bill Romanowski. (Photo: AP)He most famously punched teammate Marcus Williams (right) in 2003, breaking Williams’ eye socket. Williams said the injury forced his retirement, and he was awarded $340,000 in a subsequent lawsuit.

The Wall Street Journal’s Total Return blog runs through the latest court’s opinion, noting the Romanowskis invested about $13 million in programs sponsored by ClassicStar, a horse-breeding business, despite the objections of their longtime financial advisor, who worried that it was a tax-motivated scheme. Instead they relied on Rodney Atherton, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, for tax advice concerning the investment, although he also advised the sponsors.

“The Tax Court judge, however, denied an IRS claim that the Romanowskis owed an additional $950,000 in accuracy-related penalties because they relied in good faith on Atherton’s advice,” the Journal reported. “Also yesterday, the Tax Court upheld a $2.4 million tax deficiency plus more than $480,000 in accuracy-related penalties for another couple who invested in horse-breeding programs with ClassicStar.”

It adds that the IRS has a long history of challenging deductions related to investments in horses and horse breeding.


All in a Day’s Work— Romanowski’s NFL Fines (via ESPN)

2002—Ripped helmet off of Eddie George          $5,000

2001—Late hit on Roland Williams                     $7,500

1999—Illegal hit on Fred Taylor                        $15,000

1999—Illegal hit on Trent Dilfer                        $10,000

1999—Punched Tony Gonzalez in the head        $10,000

1997—Spit on J.J Stokes                                   $7,500

1997—Broke Kerry Collins jaw                         $20,000

1995—Kicked Larry Centers in the head             $4,500

Total                                                            $79,500


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