The North Hempstead Town Ethics Board on Monday will review a “reported omission” on the financial disclosure forms of Deputy Town Clerk Concetta Terry, wife of embattled former Town Democratic Chairman Gerard Terry.
Newsday reported last month that Gerard Terry for years received government work worth hundreds of thousands of dollars even as he compiled nearly $1.4 million in federal and state tax debts.
Newsday also reported that Concetta Terry, who is paid more than $80,000 in an annual salary, did not disclose her husband’s tax debts in at least her two most recent financial disclosure filings. The forms require employees to “describe all debts of you, your spouse, or your dependent children in excess of $5,000.” Town officials said last month that Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin would review the omission.
“The Supervisor asked me to look into Gerard Terry and also asked me to look at the financial disclosures regarding Connie Terry, and that financial disclosure is referred to the ethics board,” Botwin said Wednesday. At issue is a “reported omission,” Botwin said.
North Hempstead Town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said in a statement that the “board will review the matter following the statutory process” outlined in the town code. Town officials said discussions about Concetta Terry at Monday’s 3 p.m. meeting would occur in private, while other portions of the meeting are open to the public.
The town’s code states that an employee who “knowingly and willfully with intent to deceive makes a false statement or gives information which such individual knows to be false on such statement of financial disclosure” can face a civil penalty up to $10,000.
The board can “conduct any investigation necessary” to enforce the town’s rules, according to the town code. The board can subpoena witnesses, administer oaths or affirmations, and require the production of any records. Botwin said the ethics board cannot fire town employees.
The Ethics Board includes community activists and leaders of the religious community: Chairman Joseph Sciame, vice president for community relations at St. John’s University; Robert S. Widom, rabbi of Temple Emanuel of Great Neck; the Rev. Charles R. Vogeley of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Port Washington; Edward A. Simmons; Great Neck-based attorney Richard Kestenbaum; and Betty Leong, a New Hyde Park resident who has worked with cultural programs in the community.
After Newsday’s report, a spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said her office is investigating Gerard Terry’s tax issues and work for public agencies. The review will include “any financial disclosure statements filed with the Town of North Hempstead Board of Ethics in Terry’s capacity as a party officer,” DA spokesman Shams Tarek said earlier this month.