Plea Deal For Virgin Islands Station Owner Yanked As Prosecutors Squabble Over Procedure
May 22, 2015 at 4:41 AM (PT)
A plea deal that would have resolved the tax evasion charges against JONATHAN COHEN, whose JKC COMMUNICATIONS, CLARA COMMUNICATIONS, and RADIO 95 own a cluster of stations in the VIRGIN ISLANDS, has been withdrawn by prosecutors, and COHEN's attorney wants the judge in the case to either make the prosecutors honor the deal or dismiss the case, reports the VIRGIN ISLANDS DAILY NEWS.
COHEN is facing misdemeanor charges that he failed to file corporate and individual tax returns for himself and his stations between 2004 and 2010, and the suit by the VIRGIN ISLANDS Attorney General's Office alleges that COHEN had tax returns prepared by his accountant but never filed them, with COHEN grossing an average of $1.8 million annually and netting $220,000, which means that he would have owed about $373,000. He also allegedly failed to file Gross Receipts Tax returns that would equal over $514,000. The plea deal was offered by Assistant Attorney General DENISE GEORGE-COUNTS and had been accepted and signed by COHEN, but Acting Attorney General TERRI GRIFFITHS then took over the case and told the court she was withdrawing the offer.
COHEN's attorney DAVID NISSMAN told the court that the withdrawal was a "fraud on both the Defendant and the court." GRIFFITHS and GEORGE-COUNTS told the paper differing accounts of what happened, with GRIFFITHS saying that a previous offer had expired and she told GEORGE-COUNTS to pull the offer and not issue another without following procedure and GEORGE-COUNTS saying that she did follow procedure and was authorized to make the deal, and that the procedures cited by GRIFFITHS apply only to felonies. A status conference is scheduled for TODAY (5/22).
COHEN's stations include AC WVIQ (SUNNY 99.5 FM), Classic Hits WMNG (MONGOOSE 104.9), and Urban WJKC (ISLE 95)/CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX. He is also a 24.5% shareholder in CALEDONIA COMMUNICATION CORP., owner of Talk WSTX-A and Reggae WSTX-F/CHRISTIANSTED.