Gerard Terry hit with eight more tax charges

Gerard Terry, the once-powerful head of the North Hempstead Democratic Committee, was arrested again Wednesday and charged with eight new tax crimes.

Terry, a Roslyn Heights resident, was arraigned in Nassau County Court Wednesday morning on two felony counts of third-degree criminal tax fraud for allegedly failing to file state income tax returns for 2010 and 2015 “with the intent to evade any tax due,” according to an Aug. 18 grand jury indictment.

Terry was also charged Wednesday with three more counts of tax fraud for allegedly omitting income from his 2013, 2014 and 2015 state tax returns, as well as three counts of offering a false instrument for filing, according to a felony complaint filed by county investigator Jason Jerome.

The indictment and complaint indicate Terry, 62, did not file a 2015 tax return by at least April 19 of this year, eight days after his first arrest on a separate tax fraud charge and more than two months after a Newsday report revealed he had accumulated a $1.4 million state and federal tax debt since 2000 while holding six government jobs.

Terry’s passport remains with county authorities as a condition of his release without bail in April, said Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney’s office. 

Nassau County Court Judge David P. Sullivan said in court that he would leave Terry’s bail arrangement in place.

County prosecutors alluded to the possibility of additional charges against Terry at his first arraignment in April, which stemmed from his failure in 2011 to file a state income tax return and pay $13,000 in taxes he owed for the 2010 year.

“This defendant has made hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayer-funded government contracts, yet despite his very public commitment to file and pay required taxes, he has allegedly continued to shirk his state tax obligations,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.

Terry’s six contracts with five government agencies — including his posts as the Town of North Hempstead’s Board of Zoning Appeals attorney and special counsel to the town attorney’s office — paid him more than $217,000 in 2015, Newsday reported in January. Terry was also a Democratic operative who heavily influenced North Shore politics for more than four decades.

Nassau County prosecutors began investigating Terry after the publication of Newsday’s report and filed the first charges in April to avoid running out the statute of limitations on those earliest charges.

Terry has blamed his tax problems on health problems and “self-denial,” and has maintained that he is working with the Internal Revenue Service to resolve them. 

But he bounced a $5,100 check to the IRS while paying $8,000 to issue a public statement defending himself, Assistant District Attorney Diane Peress said in April.

Terry has lost contracts with North Hempstead, the Roosevelt Library Board, the Long Beach Housing Authority and the Nassau County Board of Elections.

But  his contract with the Freeport Community Development Agency is still active, and he has met with its board since he was first arrested in April, said Kimberly Labrador, the agency’s executive director. Labrador confirmed that Terry made close to $70,000 with the agency last year, as Newsday previously reported.

The agency will issue its annual request for proposals for legal services next week, but Labrador could not say whether Terry would be replaced.

“There’s been no wrongdoing as far as professionally when it comes to us,” said Labrador.

Gerard Terry’s wife, Concetta Terry, resigned from her job as North Hempstead deputy town clerk after she was sanctioned by the town’s Board of Ethics for making omissions on her financial disclosure forms. She did not list Gerard Terry’s tax debts on forms dating back to 2006.

Revelations about Terry’s tax issues led the town to implement ethics reforms, including the first-time enforcement of a 25-year-old requirement that leaders of town political committees file financial disclosure forms. It has also tasked a committee with exploring changes to its ethics code.

A town spokeswoman, Carole Trottere, declined to comment on Terry’s arrest.

By Noah Manskar

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The Island Now

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