News that a reality star has been up to no good probably comes as little surprise to most. After all, barely a day seems to pass when some fame-hungry wannabee isn’t making the news with their dodgy behavior. Bar brawls, sexual misadventures, DUI’s… if there’s a misdemeanor out there that hasn’t had the stamp of approval from some reality TV star or another, it’s clearly too low level a crime to warrant their attention. The latest of the long line of celebrities caught out with their misbehavior is Todd and Julie Chrisley, the stars of the enduringly popular Chrisley Knows Best.
The show got its first airing on USA Network back in Spring 2014; in the years since, it’s been keeping us regularly entertained with the exploits of the Chrisley family (which, in addition to Todd and Julie, consists of sons Chase, Kyle, and Grayson, daughters Savanah and Lindsey, and a various assortment of grandchildren and lesser relatives). While each member of the family has its own little fanbase, it’s Todd who’s been the breakaway star of the series. He may preside over the family with an iron fist, but he’s proved a sympathetic enough figure to warrant his own talk show (albeit one that got canned after just one season), a walk-on part on the infamous Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens, and an invitation to collaborate with Nashville songstress Sara Evans on the country single “Infinite Love”.
In between maxing out his celebrity status, Chrisley has been busy opening a restaurant, running a juice bar, and presiding a real estate business… although if he could, it’s likely he’d scratch that last one from the list entirely. Before he was a reality TV star, Todd was a real estate investor, buying up cut-price properties via his firm, Chrisley Asset Management (CAM), before selling them on for a massive profit. Well, at least he was, until the 2009 recession hit the property market, leaving Chrisley (and his finances) in dire straits. Despite his best efforts to pull the business back from the brink, by 2012, matters had got out of control, leaving Todd forced to petition for personal bankruptcy, and a year later, liquidize Cam’s assets. And that’s where things get interesting…
Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Chrisley Knows Best will know Todd isn’t exactly one to be frugal. He and his family are rarely seen looking anything but designer-smart, while his fleet of luxury cars and 30,000 square foot mansion aren’t exactly the hallmarks of a man who’s worried about the bottom line. And yet only two years prior to Chrisley Knows Best first hitting our screens, Todd was claiming to have no more than $100 dollars in liquid assets and a whopping $49 million of debt to his name. If you’re thinking something smells fishy, you’re not the only one. At the time of his petition for bankruptcy, investigators couldn’t help but suspect Todd was being slightly less than honest about the true extent of his assets (a situation that wasn’t exactly helped by his wife Julie, who was discovered to be sitting on a personal fortune of $3 million, $700,000 of which had been transferred to her from Todd’s investment company, CAM, prior to its dissolution). Eventually, Tod was granted his bankruptcy, but the fishy smell hanging over proceedings never quite dissipated. This month, we found out why.
As The Blast reports, Todd and Julie are currently facing 30 years of jail time on multiple counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. As the publication goes on to note, Todd may have signed his own warrant by getting a little loose with his tongue during a 2017 appearance on “The Domenick Nati Show”. During the podcast, Todd discussed his financial situation with a little too much detail than he maybe should have. “I am a Florida resident. I have been for fifteen years. I don’t make money in Georgia, so I don’t pay taxes In Georgia,” he said, “I pay $750,000 to a million dollars every year on taxes,” before adding “the government has no problem with my taxes.” As it turns out, they really do. “When making those statements, Chrisley knew he owed thousands of dollars to the IRS and had not filed federal income tax returns (or paid any federal income taxes) for the previous several tax years,” an IRS official has said, adding, “(The Chrisley’ s) continued to take part in this conspiracy even after they received notices they were required to file tax returns and pay taxes due and owing.”
The Chrisley’s have unsurprisingly refuted the allegations, claiming a disgruntled former employee fabricated the evidence now being used against them by the IRS. How true this is, we’ll have to wait to find out. What we won’t need to wait on is news of whether Chrisley Knows Best will be coming back to our screens In the wake of the allegations. Despite Radar Online reporting that USA Network wouldn’t be renewing the Chrisley’s contracts for any further seasons, Monsters and Critics have exclusively revealed the show has not been canceled, and renewal decisions are still pending. “USA Network refutes the Radar story and can confirm the show has not been canceled,” a spokeswoman for USA Network told the site.
Fans can therefore relax, for now at least. The second half of season 7 will go ahead as planned, airing as expected later this year. Whether or not an eighth season will follow up next year is still undecided, but given the ratings the Chrisley family have been pulling in for the past 5 years, it’s unlikely the network will be giving up on this particular cash cow anytime soon (unless the whole lot of them end up In jail, of course…).