Local News

Tax Records, Including Duke Coach's, Found In Dumpster

Posted February 2, 2005 11:55 a.m. EST

— Dozens of tax records -- including those of Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski -- were recently found in a Dumpster in Durham.

Troy Simpson found the files when he came to drop off some trash.

"One of them was open," Simpson said. "On the top, I saw a tax return so I just saw that and it caught my eye."

Simpson found Krzyzewski's 1985 tax return, along with returns of dozens of other people piled in a Dumpster at a Durham trash collection center.

Krzyzewski's file includes information about beach property he purchased, stock receipts and business expenses.

Coach K's Social Security number, account numbers and checks were all perfectly in order for anyone to take. Simpson knows the information is a jackpot for an identity thief.

"People shouldn't be able to come to the dump and find these files and be able to read them so easily or get to the information so easily, Simpson said.

The returns were all prepared by an accountact, John Powell. He said a storage company kept his old files and had no idea the returns were in the dump until WRAL called.

"It was really alarming," Powell said.

Powell trudged through muck at a dumpsite to get back as many of the old returns as he could.

"(I'm) just try to keep them secure for right now," Powell said.

Powell won't identify the storage company, but promised to meet with WRAL later to explain how it happened. But in the afternoon, Powell told WRAL he was "too busy" to meet.

Some of his former clients hope he's not too busy to meet with them.

"I mean the first thing is to wonder why," said one former client of Powell's, who refused to release his identity. "How it could possibly happen?"

Krzyzewski did not want to talk to WRAL about the matter. John Powell's license was revoked in 1991 after years of not filing corporate tax returns on time. As for all the tax documents, WRAL will work to return them to the taxpayers.