Has Gerard Terry returned to work in Manorhaven?

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It appears Gerard Terry recently returned to his old stomping grounds in Manorhaven — but village officials have been quiet about his homecoming.

 

The Democratic power broker-turned-tax fraudster paid a visit in March to Manorhaven Village Hall, where he worked as village attorney about a decade ago, according to surveillance footage and other sources.

 

Video from the building’s security cameras shows a man who looks like Terry arriving shortly after 10:40 a.m. on March 24 with files and a bound book in hand. About 10 minutes later, he enters the courtroom to meet with Village Clerk Joan Corbo Hanna until about 11:26 a.m., when they both leave the room.

 

It’s unclear what they discussed, but the mostly bald man — dressed in a navy blue long-sleeve shirt, khaki pants and brown shoes — can be seen thumbing through papers in one of his files while speaking with Hanna. 

 

The man returned to Village Hall at 3 p.m. and handed a document to Ron Kaslow, a consultant to the building department, according to the footage. They’re seen walking into the courtroom together before the man leaves the building at 3:01 p.m.

Gerard Terry, left, meets with Manorhaven Village Clerk Joan Corbo Hanna on March 24. (Screencap from Manorhaven surveillance video)
Gerard Terry, left, meets with Manorhaven Village Clerk Joan Corbo Hanna on March 24. (Screencap from Manorhaven surveillance video)

The man is wearing a face mask in the footage, but three people — including Manorhaven Trustee John Popeleski — identified him as Terry, who worked for eight government entities and led the North Hempstead Democratic Party before pleading guilty in 2017 to evading more than $1 million in federal income taxes.

 

The other two people who identified Terry, 67, on images from the surveillance footage are former Town of North Hempstead employees who frequently interacted with him in political settings. They requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

 

But Manorhaven officials have stonewalled Blank Slate Media’s efforts to confirm more details of Terry’s apparent visit — which has not been previously reported — and the business he was conducting.

 

Even the village’s Board of Trustees has been kept in the dark, said Popeleski, who was re-elected to the Manorhaven board on Tuesday.

 

“As far as the board knowing about Gerard Terry, that is kept so under the covers it’s not even funny,” said Popeleski, adding that he heard about Terry’s trip from a village staffer whom he declined to name.

 

“It’s been like the best-kept secret,” he said.

 

Hanna, the village clerk, did not respond to multiple emails or phone calls from Blank Slate Media about her meeting with Terry, who was disbarred as an attorney in September 2017. Kaslow, Mayor Jim Avena and other village officials did not respond to phone calls.

 

A Blank Slate Media reporter visited Village Hall on June 4 to view documents related to Terry’s visit, including building department files and the village’s visitor log for March 24. But a village worker required the reporter to file Freedom of Information requests for those records that had not been answered as of Thursday.

 

The worker also claimed that the building department records were not stored on site.

 

However, the two former Town of North Hempstead employees said they were certain Terry was the man seen in the surveillance video.

 

One of these people, who worked for the town from late 2013 to 2019, said he recognized Terry’s eyes, walk and mannerisms, adding that Terry always carries a notebook like the one seen in the footage.

 

Terry did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

 

Manorhaven was one of several municipalities where Terry worked before he was engulfed in a tax-evasion case that brought him down from his powerful perch in local politics — a case in which the Port Washington village appeared to play a role.

 

A federal judge sentenced Terry to three years in prison in 2018, but the feds released him in April 2020 to finish his sentence in home confinement during the coronavirus pandemic, Newsday reported last year.

 

After Newsday unearthed his mountainous tax debt in 2016, federal prosecutors accused Terry a year later of hiding the hefty income he earned working for eight government entities including Manorhaven, where he was village attorney from at least 2008 to 2012.

 

The feds said Terry had some help from an unidentified municipality that didn’t file a tax form showing his income for 2010 and “claimed he performed no work” that year.

 

But this municipality did pay Terry 16 checks worth $76,733 in 2010, prosecutors said — the dollar amount and number of checks Manorhaven cut for Terry that year, as Blank Slate Media reported in 2017.

 

Manorhaven officials asserted then that the village likely issued the tax form for Terry, but the document may have been destroyed in a warehouse fire or otherwise lost by a previous administration.

 

Terry, for his part, previously blamed his tax debt on “Type-A workaholic compulsion with self-denial and truly catastrophic health issues.”

 

Rose Weldon contributed reporting.

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