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Tax-dodging Trump flunky won’t fly the US flag on her $40 million yacht

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is dodging more than $2 million worth of taxes by registering her yacht in the Cayman Islands rather than the United States.

By Dan Desai Martin - August 09, 2018
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Betsy DeVos
United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Credit: Olivier Douliery / Pool via CNP | usage worldwide Photo by: Olivier Douliery/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Trump often roars about the need to respect the flag in his racist rants against NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. Yet as it turns out, embattled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refuses to fly the American flag on at least one of her family’s ten yachts.

Devos’ 164-foot yacht — the one that was recently untied and set adrift — flies the flag of the Cayman Islands, not the stars and stripes.

And this foreign flag isn’t just a unpatriotic decorating choice. It’s also a scheme that helps DeVos “avoid taxes, regulations, transparency requirements and domestic employment laws,” Newsweek reports.

Newsweek estimates that the DeVos empire would owe the state of Michigan roughly $2.4 million if it registered the $40 million yacht there, rather than in the Cayman Islands.

The yacht is technically owned by RDV International Marine, an affiliate of the company tied to the DeVos fortune. RDV is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the boat is typically docked in the Great Lakes.

DeVos is estimated to be worth $1.3 billion. To put that into perspective, a $2.4 million tax bill for DeVos would be like $92 for a family making $50,000.

State taxes for yachts help pay for services like a police force to help owners if their yachts are ever set adrift.

The good people of Ohio, where DeVos’ yacht was set adrift, were forced to cover those expenses for her, since the billionaire refuses to pay her fair share to the ports she routinely visits in the United States.

In addition to stiffing the people of Michigan and Ohio, DeVos can also skirt a number of U.S. laws and regulations by turning her back on Old Glory.

By choosing the Cayman Islands over the country she serves, DeVos can hire a crew from outside the United States, skip out on paying for workers compensation insurance, and avoid mandatory inspections and certifications by the U.S. Coast Guard, one Miami maritime lawyer told Grand Cayman Magazine in an article titled, “The super-rich and their super-yachts.”

Many professional athletes respectfully take a knee during the national anthem in order to draw attention to systematic racism in the United States.

Meanwhile DeVos, whose boss constantly bellows about putting “America first,” flies the Cayman flag on her $40 million yacht so she can save a few bucks.

Good thing DeVos is white, or else Trump might call her out for being unpatriotic.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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