Friday, December 18, 2009

"Let My Brizzi Go" and Other Weekend Thoughts

I know I said I would, but I can't....because either (1) Harry & Izzy's isn't doing so well; or (2) Carl Brizzi may have committed perjury.

Carl Brizzi is a silent partner at Harry & Izzy's with a 10% stake.

On February 23, 2009, Carl Brizzi listed his "gross weekly income" on his child support worksheet under "penalties for perjury" as $2,500. That's $130,000 annually.

"Gross weekly income" under the Indiana Child Support Guidelines includes "income from any source including salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, overtime, parnership distributions, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, capital gains, gifts, inheritances, and prizes. "Gross weekly income" also includes "imputed" income based on in-kind benefits, such as a company car, or say, a health club or country club membership.

Carl Brizzi earns $123,000 as our Marion County Prosecutor, which means that, for him to have been truthful on his worksheet, his income from all other sources could not have exceeded $7,000. (I've put aside completely the cash value of the complimentary memberships to the Columbia Club and Highland Country Club - $6,300 value alone - and the sports tickets).

Everybody knows that Harry & Izzy's is not St. Elmo's, which had $13.4 million in sales in 2007 and $12.9 million in 2008. But if you go to H&I's in the evening, it's almost always packed. I'm no expert, so I will defer to industry folk, but I've heard profit margins are 4-5% of sales on most restaurants, and if you're really doing it right, you can get up to 20%. If H&I did only $6 million in sales, Brizzi would have made $30,000 (10% of 5% of $6 million), not $7,000. Also, he has a real estate holding company. Did those properties not make money?

Anyway, working the math back, if the profit margin is 5%, it means Harry & Izzy's would have only had $1.4 million in sales last year ($1.4 x .05 x .10). For that place? Sorry, but there's no way Jeff Smith doesn't have his place humming better than that.

(I might add that I recall reading in the Wall Street Journal back in June that this is the first time in a long-while that restaurants are increasing their profit margins because they've been raising prices 3% annually to cover transportation costs that have now fallen off).

So how do we account for such a paltry profit for Brizzi?

In fairness to Brizzi, I suspect a lot of people shave their numbers to reach some agreed upon result between the parties. But don't tell me it's not perjury. Just say nobody cares about that type of perjury because it's "personal business"-justified lying, a la Bill Clinton. Of course, if anybody should care about perjury, wouldn't it be a prosecutor? I recall Ken Starr caring a great deal when he held that title.

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Even though he's a Republican, I give credit to Senator Travis Holdman for political courage for his bill to make it a Class C infraction to text while driving. Unlike the bill that restricted only teenagers (who couldn't vote), Holdman had the courage to go the "fully monty" legislatively speaking by making it apply to everybody. I don't know how you can know that texting has surpassed drunk driving as the leading cause of accidents and not support this bill (unless you're a Libertarian or really like accidents). Plus, the state will gets tons of money without raising taxes because everybody I know does it. Me?!? No comment.

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I was watching CSPAN last night, and I could have sworn I heard Arlen Specter refer to himself as a Republican. Maybe I was just dreaming. His speeches do have a way of making one drift in and out.


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5 comments:

Eclecticvibe said...

As to Mr. Specter, of course he's one of many who would be equally comfortable in either party. Why use labels? Republican/Democrat? It's all the same thing, right?

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

It is all the same thing. There's no difference in the two parties.

Question is, why do some good people stay in them?

Paul K. Ogden said...

HFFT,

Because virtually every elected offiical in the country is a Republican or a Democrat. As much as I admire Libertarians, the two party system is a fact of life.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Chris,

I was thinking the same thing on Brizzi's child support. I would have thought he woudl be paying more in support. But why wouldn't his wife complain about the unreported income. Maybe more importantly, was the additional investments listed on the Financial Declaration? The ex-Mrs. Brizzi would have been entitled to half of those investments most likely

Anonymous said...

Another Democrat impressed by Rep. Travis Holdman's bill outlawing texting while driving. I would go a step further and make talking on a hand held cell phone illegal also.