Ruh-roh: Ray Lane owes the feds big ($100M) tax bill

Ray Lane, the embattled Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) director, faces a big, new worry: The IRS says he owes $100 million in taxes, according to a Bloomberg report.

According to Bloomberg:

“…the IRS found Lane, 66, participated in a “sham” tax shelter, generating improperly claimed losses of $251 million to offset income, according to appeal papers filed May 6 in U.S. Tax Court in Washington. Lane argued that the IRS was wrong to say that his partnership, Vanadium Partners Fund LLC, lacked “legitimate business purpose.”

The past year has been pretty much a nightmare for Lane. In April, he stepped down (under pressure) as chairman of HP’s board after a tenure that included the overpriced acquisition of Autonomy. He also stepped back from day-to-day responsibilities at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, where he had been a partner. Topping it all off, he left the board of troubled Fisker Automotive.

Many critics wondered how Lane could serve both as chairman of HP during a troubled time in the history of a tech icon and keep the KPCB gig. But going back further, as COO and then president of Oracle, Lane helped straighten the company out after a series of embarrassing “accounting” issues.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison pretty much forced Lane out and some say that experience colored Lane and Ellison’s relationship ever since. Ellison, for example, blasted HP for dismissing then-CEO Mark Hurd over an expense report/sexual harassment issue, then hired Hurd as president at Oracle. HP sued Oracle over that. It’s all been pretty tawdry.

In any case, kudos to Bloomberg, which has been on top of the HP saga for the past year or more.