Gerard Terry, a longtime Democratic political operative in North Hempstead, said Monday he will resign as chairman of the town’s Democratic Party.
His decision comes in the wake of a Jan. 31 Newsday report showing Terry owes $1.4 million in combined state and federal back taxes, has been involved in five lawsuits with unsatisfied judgments totaling $190,000, and had his attorney registration lapse for a period of three years.
“The personal issues before me have already begun to distract the work of the North Hempstead Democratic Committee in electing outstanding Democratic candidates to office,” Terry said in a statement Monday evening. “As one who has worked to ensure that Democrats are able to do the people’s business I cannot allow that to occur.”
He added he would continue to volunteer with the party “in whatever capacity is appropriate.”
Terry issued the statement an hour after North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth called for his resignation from the party, and two days after Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas told Newsday her office would investigate his five government jobs.
Bosworth spoke with Terry directly in asking him to resign his post, town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said.
Terry also resigned as assistant counsel to the Democratic commissioner of the Nassau County Board of Elections this week.
In an interview, Nassau County Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs called Terry “a great political mind” whose tax problems “created a steamroller that just ran right over him.”
Jacobs said the party would likely select a new North Hempstead chair by the end of the month.
“He’s done the right thing under the circumstances, but it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that he served as an excellent town leader and is very talented and did a lot of good while he served in that position,” Jacobs said.
Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin is conducting a full review of the town’s relationship with Terry, Bosworth said last week.
Trottere would not comment on what the review specifically encompasses.
In the past year, Terry has also worked as the attorney for the Long Beach Housing Authority, the Freeport Community Development Agency and the Roosevelt Library Board.
Trottere said Monday Terry is no longer employed as the attorney for North Hempstead’s Board of Zoning Appeals or as special counsel to the town. His town contract had expired at the end of 2015 and was not renewed.
Terry’s spokesman Gary Lewi said Terry is working with his other three government clients on a “case-by-case basis” to determine “what makes the most sense going forward for himself professionally and for his clients.”
Terry revealed his federal tax problems in a written statement Jan. 22, saying the $1.2 million he owes has accumulated over the past 10 years and blaming the issues on “Type-A workaholic compulsion with self-denial and truly catastrophic health issues.”
In the statement, Terry said he is working with the Internal Revenue Service to finalize a structured repayment program to pay the taxes plus penalties and interest.
One of the lawsuits against Terry led to a home foreclosure and sale, Newsday reported.
Terry told Newsday two of the judgments against him had been satisfied, but the report said they were not registered as satisfied in court records as of last week.
The other two cases were dropped, Terry told Newsday, and he blamed his lapsed attorney registration on “unintended sloppiness” and falling behind on required legal continuing education courses.