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Chutzpah award


IT'S TIME FOR the 1995 Chutzpah Awards. Chutzpah is the Chinese word for "nerve." But it also means audacity -- as in the famous case of O. J. Sing Tow, who killed his parents and then asked the court for mercy because he was an orphan.

My candidate for this year's award is not fictional but a real human being. He is a billionaire who gave up his U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes. His name is Kenneth B. Dart, who moved from Sarasota, Fla., to Belize in Central America. He did this to take advantage of a loophole in the law that states that if you are no longer an American and did not spend more than 120 days a year in the United States, you could tell the Internal Revenue Service to stuff it.

Now there is nothing wrong with a billionaire giving up his citizenship, and Mr. Dart would not even be a candidate for the Chutzpah Award except that he persuaded the Belize government to open a consulate in Sarasota to service the millions of Belize citizens who live in the city.

His big selling point to Belize officials was that he already had a residence in Florida so it wouldn't cost the tiny country any money.

The cynics who have been following the move believe that Mr. Dart has just found a new way to live at home without giving a nickel of tribute to the United States. But Mr. Dart's lawyers say nothing could be further from the truth.

Apparently Mr. Dart believes very few people in the United States understand how important this strategically located country is to America's security.

If Belize has a consulate in Sarasota, economists from all over the world can travel there to study the effects of Belize ground nuts on the Japanese yen.

So, I nominate Ken Dart for the Chutzpah Award which does not carry a monetary prize.

It does, however, entitle the winner to wear a Belize flag medallion around his neck when "Stars and Stripes Forever" is played.

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.


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