His Life and Times (1891-1964)
Page 8
"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison - 1788

IRS HARASSMENT (1934-1950)

Dale Crosby, secretary of Skippy, Inc. and a stockholder, advised Lord, Day & Lord in April 1934 that the IRS was asking a lot of questions about Skippy's business. By 1936 she reported that the IRS was "swarming like hornets" and wanted records for an audit. Skippy's tax lawyer suspected the audit was due to Percy Crosby's political crusade and beliefs.In 1937 Crosby drew a political cartoon, entitled "Paying the Price", showing the slain figure of Justice lying on the ground with a giant boot on her chest, captioned "One Man Rule".

Cartoon by Percy Crosby
© 1937, 1999 Percy Crosby - "One Man Rule"

Crosby sent copies of the cartoon to the Supreme Court and all members of Congress, which depicted Roosevelt's attempt to "pack the Supreme Court" after its unanimous decision against the NRA. Roosevelt was reputedly furious, and already sensitive to public outrage at his "court packing" plan. The IRS claimed Skippy, Inc. was incorporated by Percy Crosby to evade taxes and filed liens for $47,000, which was published nationally and reported during congressional hearings on tax evasion. Crosby fought back with prominent newspaper ads denying liability, and Lord, Day & Lord filed protest briefs, to no avail. He was forced to discontinue his publications under "The Freedom Press", which he founded in 1932, and had to sell valuable real estate at distress prices to pay the IRS debt and penalty fines. In 1939 his wife filed for divorce and took custody of the four young Crosby children. The bitter divorce proceedings were publicized to portray the creator of Skippy as selfish and cruel. The children never saw their father again. Crosby moved to New York City, began drinking heavily, and was hospitalized in 1940 for severe stress. He married Carolyn Soper, a hospital dietitician, who, unlike his former wife, Dale Crosby, had little education or business experience. Crosby's friends and colleagues saw her as an opportunist. Crosby fired Lord, Day & Lord for "heinous conduct" in 1942 and threatened to sue the firm, which had also done all tax work. In June, 1944 he discovered that, despite the 1934 final decision for Skippy, Inc., Rosefield had continued to sell its peanut butter under the counterfeit Skippy label. A cease and desist letter from Crosby's new attorney resulted in Rosefield's renewed request to its Chicago attorney to report Crosby and Skippy, Inc. to the "criminal division" of the Justice Department. In September,1946 the IRS froze all assets of Percy Crosby and Skippy, Inc., after Hearst cancelled the Skippy contract. The IRS claimed Crosby and Skippy, Inc. owed another $43,000 in back taxes and penalties. Crosby, unable to pay an attorney, was forced to sue Rosefield pro se in New York (these documents remain concealed by Bestfoods to date), which action was allegedly dismissed for failure to prosecute. It was during this period that Crosby's licensing agent said the artist was "hounded and harassed", and was like "a hunted man"... " His phone was tapped, his mail intercepted, and he trusted noone." Fred Wish was convinced that Lord, Day & Lord had betrayed Percy Crosby.

Go to Page - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17