July 28th, 2010
11:16 AM ET
11 years ago

Kerry pays big for luxury yacht

(CNN) - Sen. John Kerry will voluntarily pay $500,000 in taxes to the state of Massachusetts - a move that forestalls a potential investigation into whether the Bay State's senior senator attempted to evade the hefty levy by docking his $7 million yacht in Rhode Island.

"We've reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and made clear that, whether owed or not, we intend to pay the equivalent taxes as if the boat's home port were currently in Massachusetts," Kerry said in statement. "That payment is being made promptly."

The decision came after Kerry faced a series of questions over why the Massachusetts Democrat decided to dock his new multi-million dollar sloop in neighboring Rhode Island even though it had been reportedly spotted in Massachusetts waters and Kerry maintains residences in Boston and Nantucket.

Rhode Island has been known as a tax-haven for boaters after the state repealed its sales and use tax on boats in the early 1990's. Kerry, who recently purchased the 76-foot yacht in Rhode Island, therefore avoided close to a half-million in taxes.

But the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has long been on the lookout for Bay Staters who dock their boats in Rhode Island and use them in Massachusetts. The Department mandates such boaters file a form with the state so use and excise taxes can be levied. If no form is filed, Massachusetts can take possession of boats it determines use its waters a sufficient number of times, the Boston Globe reports.

The Department of Revenue said Tuesday it had not launched an investigation into the matter.

The senator's office has said Kerry was not seeking to avoid taxes but instead docked the yacht in a Newport, Rhode Island boatyard for "maintenance, upkeep, and charter purposes."

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Angus McDugan

    Why do our democrat leaders have such a big problem with paying their taxes? They seem to love making sure that everyone who works for a living pays more than their fair share.

    July 28, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Like the liberal democrat he is, the slimy, corrupt, union toady is offering to pay after he was caught and exposed. I think he act like the "Nutwork Nation" would treat a Republican and resign. Ah, but morality and ethics are so much different when you are a slimy, corrupt, liberal who tries to make hardworking people pay more in taxes.

    July 28, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. A. Randolph

    $500,000 dollars for a docking tax seems excessive, especially for a state that started the revolution against unjust taxes. No matter your politics one must admit we may be going to far trying to make up budget short falls.

    July 28, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    Ok How on a Senator's pay can he own several homes (one home in Nantucket no less?) and a 7 million dollars yacht?
    Dear voters it is time to stop ignoring these facts. Our elected officials have been taking advantage of our Liberty for their own gain for too long.
    The time to clean up both The House and 1/3 the Senate is upon us. Don't vote for the party! It is time the people sent a message to Washington DC we reject politics as usual.

    Fire All incumbents!

    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"

    July 28, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Bob of Lompoc

    Worst part of this story is that fool over Kerry's shoulder – Alfred E. Newman, aka The Senator Of The State Of Israel, Joe Lieberman.

    As far as the boat docking – who cares. Does a wealthy American dodging taxes actually surprise anyone?

    July 28, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    If it's the intent of Massachusetts to rip off people who own boats, it only makes sense that boat owners move their boats to a less greedy state.

    This, by the way, is exactly what happens when a greedy state like California (or a greedy country, for that matter), tries to rip off businesses and people with ridiculous levels of taxation. The wealth just moves away to less greedy places, driving up unemployment in the places from which it's been driven.

    July 28, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. Tom Watson

    This is unrelated to this story but i am sick of CNN Labeling every story as causing a stir. For example the story about the Capitol Hill Beautiful List. THe title reads "Beautiful List causes Stir" but if you actually read the story there is nothing controversial. CNN is trying to make every story sound controversial... I am sick of it.

    July 28, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. snow

    The other real story is he contracted to have the boat built overseas instead of having one built here in the US. And here he is, saying he is trying to save jobs in the US. The guy is a bigger liar than even I had figured he is.

    July 28, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    "But the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has long been on the lookout for Bay Staters who dock their boats in Rhode Island and use them in Massachusetts. The Department mandates such boaters file a form with the state so use and excise taxes can be levied."

    Hey... that's awfully big of you to "volunteer" to pay your REQUIRED taxes, Sparky. Meanwhile, if us "little people" fail to "volunteer", we can have our wages garnished, go to jail, or at the very least, get nailed with interest and penalties.

    So John... why the long face?

    July 28, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Willy Brown

    Busted you rich liberal

    July 28, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. jim

    It's too bad that the Senator only did this after the matter came to the public's attention.What ever happened to doing the right thing when nobody's watching?

    July 28, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Cosmo

    Did he break any laws or was he just taking advantage of a what the law allows? This sounds like a non-story. The real srtroy may be how he can afford a 7 million dollar yacht on a Senator's salary.

    July 28, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Naqib

    Oh... the poor democrat....
    By the way... he's not volunteering... he tried to doc it in RI so he could avoid paying the taxes... not very patriotic according to Joe Biden... lol

    July 28, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Doc

    So at worst he'sguilty of doing what a lot of other citizens of Massachusetts do. They just don't have the high profile names and deep pockets like Kerry does. And why no complaints against Rhode Island which does not require a state residency for docking your vessel there?

    July 28, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Dave Harris

    Why should the Peoples' Republic of Taxachusetts be able to tax a boat bought and kept in Rhode Island? If Kerry was smart, he'd move there and avoid even more taxes. Of course, it's small change to him.

    July 28, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. JR

    The man is paying taxes he doesn't owe and why, because right wingers whined and complained. It's sad to see democrats roll over for those cretins. When will a democrat stand up and tell them to stick it?

    July 28, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Augsbee

    Maybe this will teach Senator Kerry to stop criticizing everyone else and look in the mirror every once in awhile. Hopefully, he has learned that when you point a finger at someone, 3 fingers are pointing back at you. Typical of this millioners, the wealthy, the rich who do everything they can to not pay taxes. Kerry must not be happy when Obama takes away Bush's tax cuts that favor the wealthy, Kerry being one of those wealthy ones and his wife, Teresa Heinz Ketchup.

    July 28, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Would Tim Mcveigh be a Tea Party hero today?

    Doesnt everyone go for the lowest price overall?As cheap as the republicans are,you would think they would love China and move there.I feel sorry for Rush and his dittoheads in November.

    July 28, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Dale

    Kerry is the typical A-1 liberal control freak that had NO INTENTIONS of paying this bill unless caught.

    Do what I say not as I do. POS

    He is Al Gores twin brother. These people are sickening and any fools that allow them to make laws need their heads examined. They are playing people like puppets.

    Unfortunately we have a lot of puppets out there that cannot think for themselves.

    July 28, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. conservative liberal

    Trying to get over on the system while telling the rest of us to pay our taxes. If I purchased something 7million dollars the first thing I would do is pay my taxes on it. Cnn why does John Kerry hate America?

    July 28, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Bobert

    You know what makes me sad about this? Kerry (and this is a reflection of the whole political process) is paying that tax, whether or not he owes it, just so it doesn't reflect poorly upon him.

    I would have prefer that they looked into the matter first, made a determination, and worked off of that. But even though he might not actually owe the tax, he's still going to pay it so he doesn't tarnish his name. Such has it come to be in the world of drive-by media and the incoming political season.

    July 28, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Better than manipulating the facts to start a pre-emptive war for oil so Dick Cheney / Bush could help their pals make a ton of $ in no-bid contracts for the corporations they ran before taking office.

    July 28, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Just think, this man might have been president one day!

    July 28, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Democrats want YOU to pay taxes...

    Let's get this straight, Kerry didn't volunteer anything. He needed to pay the taxes on his boat because it is the law. I hope that everyone noticed that although he (and his democratic cohorts*) legislates that the public pays more in taxes, he does everything he can to get out of it - and he is ultra wealthy.

    *Gietner, Rangel, Edwards, the Obama cabinet in general...

    July 28, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. jwmellott

    What a guy– he's going to pay his taxes!

    July 28, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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