Stewart argued that she "rarely visited New York," but the judge noted the jacket of her 1991 book on gardening stated that she "lives in Connecticut and New York, and is presently creating a new garden on Long Island."
Stewart testified the East Hampton mansion and an accompanying three-bedroom cottage used by her daughter were renovated and thus uninhabitable during 1991-92.
But a spring 1991 Martha Stewart Living story depicted photos of the daughter's cottage with text describing it as "well furnished and lived-in."
"The cottage appears to be habitable and clearly had already been renovated by the time the photographs were taken," the judge noted.
Stewart had premium-level cable TV installed in July 1991 in a Hamptons house she called uninhabitable. She said it was for testing the home's audio visual system.
"This degree of cable service appears to be more than that required to test a stereo and audiovisual system and is more consistent with an occupied residence," wrote Administrative Judge Thomas Sacca.
This is in contrast to [Stewart's] testimony that she was hardly ever in New York."
In one case, Stewart "emphatically denied" being on NBC's "Today" show in 1991.
The judge pointed out that her magazine, Martha Stewart Living, cited her 1991 "Today" show appearances.
"This is another example of the lack of credible testimony to support [Stewart]," Sacca wrote.
Stewart used limousine receipts to try to prove she was in Connecticut on certain days.
But some receipts were for driving props from her show or other staff members. One receipt was for a trip that was canceled.
Even Stewart's driver couldn't back her up.
He testified "he could not specify where [Stewart] spent most of her time, Connecticut or New York, it was a mixture of the two.
In 1999, Sacca had to sort things out when Stewart appealed a 1997 state decision requiring that she pay the $221,000 in New York income tax.
With documents, witnesses and her own testimony, Stewart insisted she didn't owe New York a dime because her "primary residence" was a sprawling manse on South Turkey Hill Road in Westport, Conn. � not her "summer home" on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton, L.I.
Stewart told tax investigators her East Hampton home was uninhabitable because of construction in 1991 and 1992.
Yet she signed a notarized form admitting she lived there during those years.
Stewart's assistant, who filled out the form that Stewart ultimately signed off on, claimed she had "no idea how to fill the form out."
Stewart ultimately was ordered to pay the back tax bill, plus an unspecified penalty for "negligently failing to retain necessary records."
The doubts about Stewart's credibility take on new meaning as she faces the ImClone insider-trading scandal.
Federal prosecutors, securities regulators and Congress are investigating Stewart's tale of why she suddenly dumped her ImClone shares in December, a day before the stock tanked.
She said she had a verbal agreement with her Merrill Lynch broker to sell if ImClone dropped below $60, but the broker's assistant has told Merrill lawyers that no agreement existed, sources say.
The broker and the assistant have been suspended while investigators sort things out. Stewart is a target of an ongoing criminal probe, sources have told the Daily News.
In a January 2000 opinion, Administrative Judge Thomas Sacca hammered Stewart for a "lack of credible testimony" in her bid to get out of paying New York $221,000 in back taxes from 1991 and 1992.
In his 40-page ruling, Sacca repeatedly shot down Stewart's attempts at proving she lived in Connecticut and not in New York � using material from her magazine and book to contradict her statements.
In one case, Stewart argued she "rarely visited New York," but the judge noted that the jacket of her 1991 book on gardening stated that Stewart "lives in Connecticut and New York, and is presently creating a new garden on Long Island."