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As if former Lehman chief Dick Fuld wasn't enough of a villain as it is given his role in the investment bank's collapse last fall, it turns out he was a tax cheat, too. The Times reports today that the Bloomberg administration is accusing Lehman of failing to pay the city some $627 million in taxes between 1996 and 2008.

Yes, that's correct: Lehman got away with not paying the city more than half a billion dollars over more than a decade. How did the city let this go on for years without taking action? Why now?

No one seems to have a very good answer to the first question, except to say that these tax matters are really complicated and can take years to investigate. As for the second, there's a perfectly good explanation for why the city is speaking up now. With Lehman's assets now being liquidated and creditors lining up for a piece of the pie—a list that includes the American Red Cross in Millburn, N.J. which says it's owed $160 for a bounced check—the city is now hoping to extract a few dollars, too. And experts say it stands a pretty good shot at getting something, although "how much and when is anyone's guess."

New York Seeks Millions in Tax From Lehman [NYT]