Ciprianis Learn That Rich People Have to Pay Taxes, Too, Even in the Bush Era


Fellow tax cheat Leona Helmsley, leaving federal court in 1989.Photo: Time & Life Photos/Getty Images

We were trying to put our finger on what, exactly, irks us so much about the Cipriani family’s pleading guilty to evading $10 million of state and city taxes, and then it came to us. The Ciprianis’ chosen milieu is ostentatious, eighties-style luxury: They run the Rainbow Room (home to, in ex–line cook Anthony Bourdain’s memorable phrase, “captains of industry … eating garbage at the top of the world”), Harry’s Bar in Venice, and, of course, the half-dozen eponymous gilded troughs here in Manhattan. It’s thus pretty safe to say that just about all of their fortune is made off those just as fortunate. So not only do we have George Bush cutting taxes for the wealthiest one percent, we also have the people who feed this one percent hoarding the money that’s now escaped taxation twice. It’s the ultimate raspberry to the trickle-down theory: In the words of another master, Leona Helmsley, “only little people pay taxes.” Big people post bail.

Ciprianis Plead Guilty in $10 Million N.Y. Tax Case [Bloomberg]