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Richard Hatch: I thought CBS would pay my taxes

Richard Hatch: I thought CBS would pay my taxes. The inaugural ”Survivor” winner claims he’s being scapegoated because he’s famous

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It’s pretty hard to lock Richard Hatch into an alliance, as the contestants who lost to him on the inaugural Survivor learned, and as federal prosecutors learned last week when he backed out of a plea agreement that would have settled the IRS claim against him over the taxes from his reality-show windfall. Talking to the Associated Press, Hatch said on Friday that he was ”absolutely not guilty” of tax evasion.

Hatch’s lawyer, Michael Minns, told AP that, under California law, Hatch should have been considered a CBS employee, and the network should have withheld the taxes from his windfall. CBS disputed that interpretation in a statement, saying, ”Richard Hatch was well aware of his obligation to pay taxes on his Survivor prize money.”

Hatch blamed his legal woes on his reality-show fame. ”I’m being used as an example, as a scapegoat. And I’m innocent,” he said. ”This is nothing more than their effort to use my notoriety to get other people to pay taxes.” Or maybe it’s an effort to use his notoriety to stop reality contestants from walking around naked.