I always figured the Harrisons were the Turlocks, or at least typical of the attitude Michner describes. It's one held by a lot of folks in that area. It deserves consideration that a culture has developed there that extols illuding the laws regarding fish and game. I sort of get it having been raised in the holler with similar attitudes. A lot of it comes down to people who have had to provide for themselves in isolated situations generation after generation. It's hard to see the big picture. Right or wrong, I believe it's why judges give families like the Harrison's some slack even though it seems shocking to most everyone else.
Published: Friday, December 12, 2008 4:29 AM CST
TILGHMAN An Anne Arundel District Court judge ordered Harrison Bros. Oysters LLC, partially owned by Talbot County Councilman Levin F. Harrison IV, to pay a $5,000 fine and outstanding debts to the Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday.
The company pleaded guilty to 34 charges of failing to pay oyster taxes, including 10 counts of failure to pay inspection tax on exported oysters and 24 counts of failure to pay severance tax on Maryland oysters.
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler said between Oct. 7, 2005, and March 17, 2006, the LLC didn't pay the required severance tax on 11,624 bushels of oysters bought from Maryland watermen. The company also didn't pay the required inspection tax on 11,362 bushels of oysters that the company exported out of Maryland. The company owed the DNR $15,032.60 for taxes as of March 17, 2006, and had a balance of $3,943.60 Tuesday.
Roy B. Cowdrey Jr., counsel for Harrison, said his client paid in full Tuesday and said the company pleaded guilty, not his client, who is a partial owner.
"A company in which Buddy Harrison IV has a partial interest resolved its late payment oyster tax dispute with the state. That company (pleaded) guilty to charges for failing to pay weekly oyster taxes. Less than $4,000 in late taxes were in dispute at the time of trial. Reports in a state-circulated tabloid that Mr. Harrison was charged and (pleaded) guilty to these charges were false."
Maryland imposes a 30-cent inspection tax per bushel and a $1 severance tax for oysters headed out-of-state per bushel for oyster dealers.
The taxes are due each week to the DNR.
The judge granted a probation before judgment, despite an objection from the Attorney General's office.
Harrison is serving his second term on the council. He also served from 1998 to 2002.