L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former head of Tyco International, appeared red-faced in Manhattan state Supreme Court yesterday as he was hit with new charges in connection with evading more than $1 million in sales tax on valuable artwork.
Asked whether he was sunburned or just feeling the heat, the fallen wheeler dealer said, “I think I’m just warm.”
Kozlowski, 55, who resigned and was indicted earlier this month, now also faces charges of tampering with physical evidence in the case against him for allegedly conspiring to evade taxes on about $13 million worth of art, including a $3.95 million painting by Claude Monet.
A new indictment unsealed yesterday accuses Kozlowski of removing a bill of lading from Tyco’s offices in Boca Raton, Fla., after it was requested by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case.
The bill, dated Jan. 2, 2002, falsely reflects the shipping of five paintings from New York to New Hampshire, including works by Monet, Munnings, Beert, Caillebotte and Renoir, prosecutors said. That would have kept them from being subject to city and state sales tax.
The balding Kozlowski, who told the judge, “I plead not guilty to the indictment,” remained free on $3-million bond.
According to prosecutors, Kozlowski used a number of ruses to avoid the sales tax. In one case, a $425,000 painting by John La Farge was sent to Tyco headquarters in New Hampshire, where it was signed for, then immediately taken to Kozlowski’s Fifth Avenue apartment. In another instance, Kozlowski told an art dealer to send empty boxes, rather than four paintings worth $8.8 million, plus the Monet to New Hampshire.
Kozlowski, who rose from a cop’s son in Newark to the second-highest-paid chief executive – paid more than $100 million in cash, stock and perks over the past three years – has an $18-million apartment on Fifth Avenue, a Nantucket beach house and an estate in Boca Raton.
Asked where he’s living now, Kozlowski would only say: “I’m spending time with family and friends.”
Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus ordered Kozlowski back in court on Aug. 14.
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