Former Radio Show Host Sent to Jail for Failing to Pay State Taxes

Times Staff Writer

A former radio talk show host from Mission Hills was sentenced to six months in jail Friday, and his wife received three years probation for failing to file state tax returns on more than $400,000 they earned from 1982 to 1985.

Willard and Evelyn Jenkins, who had pleaded guilty to the charges in September, were also ordered to pay more than $101,000 in taxes and interest not paid since 1979, when they stopped filing returns.

It was the second time that the couple, both 54, had faced a Van Nuys Municipal Court judge on tax evasion charges. Three years ago, each was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and to pay back taxes for 1979 to 1981.

Jim Reber, spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, said those back taxes were never paid and have been added to the new fine. He also said the Jenkinses are among a handful of repeat offenders caught by comparing employment and bank tax records with personal returns.


Jenkins used to broadcast news weekdays for KABC radio and hosted “Open Mind,” a now-defunct Saturday night call-in show. Reber said he believes that Jenkins has been a management consultant in recent years and that his wife worked as an office manager for a Newhall medical office.

Jenkins was taken directly to the Van Nuys Jail after Friday’s sentencing; his wife could not be reached for comment.

In past interviews, Jenkins said the 16th Amendment, the section of the U.S. Constitution that gave Congress the authority to collect income taxes, was never properly ratified.

“In effect we have a law that never was,” he said after his 1986 trial.


Reber said Friday’s sentencing “sends out a strong message . . . that if you’re going to get involved in this kind of frivolous action, where you blatantly violate the law, you’d better think twice.”

The Jenkinses will be offered the chance to pay the back taxes in installments, Reber said, but if they do not cooperate, the state can place liens against their property and garnishee their wages.

The couple also failed to file federal tax returns during the nine years, Reber said, and could owe as much as $200,000 in federal taxes.