Officials in the Town of North Hempstead knew in May 2017 that former senior policy adviser Robert Troiano had debts totaling at least $800,000 but did not take corrective measures, according to documents obtained by Newsday.
Newsday reported in January that county records show that Troiano, 64, of Westbury, amassed $81,533 in federal income tax liens between 2010 and 2014, and a $749,264 lien against a house he owns that is facing foreclosure. Troiano said Wednesday that he has since paid off all liens and that a home in foreclosure is in contract with a private buyer.
The first time Troiano revealed his income tax liens to the town was in 2017, despite years of unpaid taxes while employed by North Hempstead. He listed a federal tax lien on a financial disclosure form filed with the town in May, which was reviewed by the town’s independent Board of Ethics, town officials said. The amount Troiano listed was redacted from documents Newsday obtained.
Town officials said Wednesday that they are looking at further strengthening town policies and procedures.
“The issues raised regarding Troiano’s undisclosed tax liens suggest this process needs to be tightened further and we are doing that, including now requiring that senior appointees submit financial disclosures before starting their employment with the Town,” said town spokeswoman Carole Trottere.
Troiano said that he disclosed the outstanding tax liens in May because he thought it “better to be open and transparent” in light of “news that came out in 2016.” He said he wasn’t referring to former town Democratic Party Leader Gerard Terry’s $1.4 million in state and federal tax debts.
After Terry’s debts were revealed, the town strengthened its code of ethics and anti-nepotism law, and began requiring financial disclosures for more town employees.
After serving as Nassau County’s acting commissioner for traffic and parking violations for less than a month, Troiano resigned on Jan. 28 amid inquiries into his debts. He submitted his resignation letter one day before being considered for confirmation as traffic commissioner by the Nassau Legislature, where Republican legislators said he would have been questioned about the debts. The position would have paid $155,000 annually.
Troiano denied that the debts were the reason for his resignation, stating that it “wasn’t part of his story.” Sources familiar with the resignation told Newsday that Troiano’s history of tax liens and foreclosure actions on multiple properties “played a very big role” in his departure.
Trottere said that town officials were aware that Troiano’s home was mortgaged and that a second property he owned was advertised for a foreclosure sale in 2017. This was reviewed with Troiano and was not “considered a conflict with his position as senior policy adviser,” Trottere added.
Trottere did not respond directly to whether town officials discussed the tax liens with Troiano and whether they presented a concern to the town.
Troiano told Newsday that town officials did not follow up with him about the liens he disclosed in May, adding that he “wouldn’t expect them to contact me about that.”
One day after resigning from the county position, he began a new job as director of special projects at the Nassau County Board of Elections, with an annual salary of $140,000.
Troiano’s income tax troubles spanned from 2006 to 2014, but were not disclosed on any financial disclosures he submitted to the town during those years, documents show. In 2008, while he was a town council member, Troiano paid off a nearly $107,000 IRS lien, county records show. There is no mention of this in any disclosure he filed with the town.
When asked why he didn’t disclose his tax liens in previous years, he said he didn’t think it was “necessary” because “the town wouldn’t be in the position to do business with the Department of the U.S. Treasury.” He added that he has not recently been in touch with North Hempstead Town officials.