"Jimmy" Frank Smith is no stranger to bad luck. Fans of the A&E show Ax Men are typically treated to a smorgasbord of gator-attacks and ill-fated attempts to drive an old dualie pickup truck, along with bickering with his son and occasional logging work whenever the Roslyn resident turns up in episodes. But at the end of the day, Smith gets the job done and he gets paid for it. Unfortunately, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries says he never told them about any of those payments, despite raking in more than more than $50,000 in disability and pension compensation.
The Olympian reports:
Since April 2007, Smith has received more than $50,000 in L&I time-loss and pension benefits after submitting two injury claims, one in 1993 and another in 1996. He also was paid for his appearances in "Ax Men" and didn't tell L&I about the job. L&I learned that Smith owns S&S Aqua Logging in Florida; it was established in April 2007.
A&E's website describes Smith as such:
Jimmy's a piece of work--prone to outbursts, temper tantrums and walk-offs--but behind the emotional rollercoaster is a man who wants his son to be able to look up to him.
UPDATE: Smith writes to Seattle Weekly via Facebook:
I am not guilty of the charges. I have followed all of the laws. L&I has broken there own laws, and the laws of the state of washington to bring these charges with no meritt against me, to cover up the illegal actions of the DNR director peter goldmark, and his staff for filing false statements to obtain search warrants.... What has America come to when a father is harassed, and charged by the state for trying to teach his son to work, and be a man. The state can't manage there own money, so they steal from their people in the name of the law.
As far as how L&I investigators discovered that Smith was working when he was supposed to be disabled, the complicated investigation apparently consisted of turning on the television.
Court papers say an investigator "observed Mr. Smith clothed in a diving 'wet suit,' donning Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) moving from a vessel into the water and working underwater to place 'chokers' around submerged cut logs"--in other words, they saw him working on the teevee.
Fine police work, chap. It's too bad that the same professional resourcefulness shown by this labor investigator wasn't present in the mechanic who tried to fix Jimmy's car.