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Chrysler exec owes $1M+ in taxes, loans

While Chrysler was in bailout talks with Uncle Sam, one of its top executives was dealing with his own financial problems.

Jim Press, deputy chief executive of Chrysler Group LLC, owes $947,410 in back federal taxes and has defaulted on $609,286 he owes Western Federal Credit Union, according to the documents filed in Oakland County.

The Wall Street Journal (via initial reports from the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News) says IRS has filed a lien against Press' Birmingham, Mich., home. Another was placed on a townhouse he has n Manhattan's exclusive Lenox Hill neighborhood.

Press and his wife allegedly failed to pay their 2007 income taxes.

Last November, according to reports, Press sent a letter to the credit union, assuring it that "You don't have to worry about my ability to pay, it's just a cash flow issue at this time. My employment is not in jeopardy, and I still have monthly income to service the note."

The letter, notes the WSJ, was sent two weeks before the chief executives of the three major U.S. car makers went to Capitol Hill seeking emergency funds. Since then, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy and went through a federally orchestrated bailout. It now is under the control of Fiat SpA.

Press is the only top Chrysler executive kept on by Fiat after the bailout. He reportedly will leave his auto company job at the end of the year. I'm sure Press and the IRS are hoping he gets a nice exit package.


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