LHSAA, Tommy Henry reach settlements with IRS

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has settled its case with the Internal
Revenue Sevice that dates to
an audit that began in June 2007.

Michael Choate, who serves as a state-approved auditor for the LHSAA, told the LHSAA’s executive committee during a Wednesday report that its case with the IRS was settled and that the LHSAA has agreed to pay $102,772.

Also agreeing to a separate IRS settlement that will require him to pay the LHSAA $224,418 was former LHSAA Commissioner Tommy Henry.

Executive Director Kenny Henderson said the LHSAA had previously paid the IRS $12,000.

“Our attorney reported to us that an agreement was made,” Henderson said. “You definitely learn from every experience you go through.

“Many of the things they (the IRS) said for us to do we had already been doing. We started changing up our procedures after I came in.”

Henderson, who took over the LHSAA’s top job when Henry retired in October 2007, declined comment on Henry’s portion of the settlement, saying he knew only what was reported to him by the LHSAA’s tax attorney.

When contacted by phone, Henry deferred comment to his tax attorney, Monroe’s Richard Campbell, who confirmed the amount Choate listed for Henry’s payment was correct
and that Henry has until Oct. 2015 to pay the $224,418 to the LHSAA.

“There’s not much about this whole thing that’s right,” Campbell said. “In this case, a settlement was best. But as far as I’m concerned it’s wrong for Mr. Henry or for the LHSAA to have to pay anything.

“What he (Henry) did, he did with the approval of the LHSAA and its executive committee. He traveled all over the state conducting LHSAA business. When you travel, the IRS has some very specific things they look for. Records were kept, and receipts were turned in. Those records were kept, but they were not what the IRS wanted.”

The IRS questioned Henry’s travel expenses and use of an organization credit card during his travels around the state. Henry served as LHSAA commissioner from 1983-2007.

A 2010 legislative audit found Henry may have “fraudulently” spent thousands of LHSAA dollars and noted what it called questionable purchases such as $50,000 for cigars, golf equipment and clothes. The state audit also cited expense filings by Henry that appeared to be duplicates.

Campbell noted to the LHSAA he also had independent audits done during Henry’s tenure and that those audits never flagged any wrongdoing. He said the IRS requires an “accountable plan,” for expenses, which the LHSAA did not have during Henry’s tenure.

Campbell’s summary of the case states that, “This was entirely a technical civil tax matter, with no criminal or fraudulent allegations made by the IRS.”