Hollywood star alleges tax official made “anti-Semitic” comments

Hollywood actor Rob Lowe has alleged that an elected member of the state’s Board of Equalization used a slur about Jewish people during a private meeting over a tax dispute last year.

Lowe’s attorney also informed board officials that he may sue BOE member Jerome Horton for a disparaging remarks in press release made following the board’s recent split decision to lower the income tax Lowe owes on a $25 million Montecito home sale in 2005.

“Theirs is a misrepresentation of the facts, I am a lifetime supporter of Israel and related issues, this is only about my vote against them,” Horton said in an email to The Sacramento Bee Monday night.

Hollywood actor, Rob Lowe
Hollywood actor, Rob Lowe

As first reported by Bloomberg BNA, Lowe alleged in an email to board members that Horton had asked him and his wife, Sheryl Berkoff, if she “Jewed down” contractors who built their house. Berkoff is Jewish.

“Appalled, we asked him to explain his comment,” Lowe said in a copy of the email acquired by The Bee. “He doubled down, saying ‘C’mon. You know what I’m saying. Did you Jew them down? You must have.’”

According to the email, Lowe’s tax attorney Mark Bernsley and members of Horton’s staff were present when the remarks were allegedly made.

Lowe also wrote that he would inform the Anti-Defamation League of Horton’s alleged comments while “weighing other options to combat this virulent and unapologetic anti-Semitism in the people of California’s Board of Equalization.”

The hubbub about Horton’s alleged comments and public remarks is just the latest in a string embarrassing events to hit the Board of Equalization, which collects $60 billion annually in state sales and use taxes, fuel, alcohol, and tobacco taxes and hears state income tax appeals.

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