Just days after making the single largest donation ever to the Kirkland Arts Center of $125,000, longtime Kirkland arts patron William Ballantine was sentenced in federal court to 13 months in prison for tax evasion.
Ballantine, 63, pleaded guilty to arranging to funnel through a church in Durango, Colo., $360,000 from a charitable foundation his late mother had set up to his personal account, according to the Durango Herald, thus avoiding taxes.
Ballantine’s brother Richard Ballantine is the publisher of the newspaper. William Ballantine expressed remorse at his sentencing in U.S. District Court in Denver on Oct. 24. Friends and family expressed shock, having known him as kind and generous.
“I am absolutely humiliated by what I have done. I am repentant and very, very sorry,” the newspaper quoted Ballantine as saying.
Ballantine’s lawyer had urged the court to bypass the sentencing guideline of 18-24 months and instead sentence him to community service. But federal attorney’s argued for a stiff sentence, calling it “an extremely aggravated tax-evasion case.”
Ballantine's lawyer said he had paid back all the money to the charity and paid all federal taxes he owned.
Just days before the sentencing, the Kirkland Arts Center on Oct. 20 announced a total of $200,000 in donations to its programs in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Among that money was the largest single contribution in the center’s history, $125,000 from Bill Ballantine. For a Kirkland Patch story on that, click here.
The court also ordered Ballantine, a Kirkland resident, to pay $20,000 in restitution and serve three years probation. For the full Durango Herald story, click here.