A Great Neck lawyer contending for the Democratic nomination in U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi’s district has filed a discrimination complaint with the state attorney general against former North Hempstead Democratic Party Chairman Gerard Terry claiming the chairman propositioned him for sex when he was first getting into politics.
Michael Weinstock’s complaint filed last Monday accuses Terry, 65, of abusing “his position of power by demanding sex from young male staffers and volunteers, in exchange for government jobs.”
Terry, of Roslyn Heights, is currently serving time in prison for tax evasion and has been disbarred.
Weinstock, who is a former sex crimes prosecutor and a rescue worker in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, submitted the complaint and detailed his personal history of being sexually harassed by Terry.
He first encountered Terry in 1996 when he was a first-year law student at St. John’s University Law School, according to the complaint. Weinstock aspired to a career in politics and worked on a campaign to elect Carolyn McCarthy to Congress and before that was an intern for state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, an assemblyman at the time.
Terry invited Weinstock to a meeting at the Jaspan Schlesinger law firm in Garden City on Dec. 1, 1996, in which he was supposed to help Weinstock secure a position in McCarthy’s district office.
He allegedly told Weinstock that he had “a very promising career ahead of [him] in politics,” he was a hard worker and “very smart,” and that he was impressed with Weinstock’s hard work on McCarthy’s campaign.
Terry stated “Carolyn will definitely hire you when I call her. She never would have gotten on the ballot, if it wasn’t for me,” according to Weinstock’s complaint.
Weinstock alleges that Terry’s comments on his work ethic were followed by comments on his appearance and that he wanted to take Weinstock “on overnight trips and do things with you that you’ve never done with anybody else.”
The complainant said his encounter with Terry made him “intimidated and scared” and he “sought to avoid the defendant whenever possible,” never working on another political campaign in Nassau County, according to the complaint.
Efforts to reach Terry in prison were unavailing. Whether he currently has a lawyer was unclear.
In 2010, Weinstock met with Gerald Scharfman, a Democratic commissioner and adjunct professor at Nassau County Community College, and voiced his interest in running for local office to which Scharfman “turned him away” and said that Weinstock must receive “Gerard Terry’s blessing” and he “must do whatever it takes to get him to like you,” the complaint states.
Furthermore, the complaint charges Terry with physically blocking Weinstock from leaving the county’s Democratic headquarters in 2013 when Weinstock was collecting signatures for a judge with the Nassau County District Court.
When Weinstock went to drop off the petitions, Terry allegedly blocked the door, grabbed Weinstock’s forearm and told him: “I want to see more of you.”
From then on, the complaint said, Weinstock encountered Terry at approximately seven Democratic Party fundraisers between 2014 through 2017. During the encounters, Terry purportedly “slowly chased the complainant around the cocktail area” and when successfully getting close to Weinstock, he would allegedly tell him, “I want to see more of you” and make hand gestures that suggest that he was watching Weinstock.
In the complaint, Weinstock also alleges that he observed Terry practicing law in the Nassau County District Courthouse after he had been disbarred. After Terry was finished at the courthouse, Weinstock claims, Terry waited in the hallway for approximately 50 minutes until Weinstock exited the courtroom. The complaint states that Terry once again made the hand gesture to Weinstock suggesting that he was watching him.
Weinstock announced his run against Suozzi in May in conjunction with the release of a public letter where he shared his alleged experience of harassment from Terry.
After Terry was convicted of tax evasion, Suozzi wrote a letter on his behalf suggesting that his services would be of better use as an adviser or advocate for one of Long Island’s many nonprofits than jail time.
Weinstock has in the past partly credited his run to anger towards Suozzi’s support of Terry.
Terry served as the village attorney for Manorhaven and was counsel to the North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals. He also was a consultant for 2 years for the Village of Port Washington North.