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North Hempstead Democrats back replacement for Gerard Terry

North Hempstead Democratic leaders endorsed a replacement Tuesday

North Hempstead Democratic leaders endorsed a replacement Tuesday night for former party Chairman Gerard Terry, above, who resigned last week. Credit: Town of North Hempstead

Top North Hempstead Democrats have endorsed Great Neck community leader John Ryan to succeed embattled ex-chairman Gerard Terry.

“The executive committee of the North Hempstead Democrats met informally tonight at my home and enthusiastically supported John Ryan as a candidate for town leader,” North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said Tuesday night after the meeting, which was attended by about 35 town Democrats.

Terry resigned last week as party chairman after Newsday reported he compiled nearly $1.4 million in state and federal tax debts while receiving government jobs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bosworth had called for his resignation, and Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas is investigating his public contracts.

The entire North Hempstead committee must vote on Ryan’s appointment at a convention to be convened by Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs. Bosworth said that Ryan, a senior vice president of investments and a certified long term care specialist with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Garden City, is “a wonderful community leader, he will bring so much to our town committee in terms of working together collaboratively, and in terms of encouraging people to be part of this great process.”

Earlier Tuesday, the executive director of the Long Beach Housing Authority, said the agency had ended its contract with Terry. The housing authority board voted 7-0 Thursday to terminate Terry’s $12,000-a-year salary.

Mike Cruz, the agency’s executive director, wrote in a statement issued Tuesday that, “ we are sending Mr. Terry a written notice of termination of his legal services.”

Terry’s departure continues his sharp fall from power. He resigned Feb. 1 as party chairman. The next day Terry stepped down from his position as a lawyer for the Nassau County Board of Elections amid questions from Newsday about his work production. Terry also stepped down last week from the Roosevelt Public Library Board. Bosworth said last week the town would not renew Terry’s contracts as special counsel for the town attorney, and attorney for the zoning board of appeals. Terry was paid more than $217,000 last year for his six public jobs.

“We had to break ties simply because of what’s happened with Mr. Terry and his financial situation,” said Cruz, who added he was not aware of Terry’s tax debts. “We just did what we had to do as a housing authority to make sure we protect the best interests of what Long Beach Housing Authority is about.”

Newsday also reported that Terry was practicing with a lapsed attorney registration for three two-year cycles beginning in 2010. He filed the registration retroactively in 2015 after falling behind on continuing legal education courses.

Cruz said Terry worked for the housing authority as “a type of consultant” on an as-needed basis. He advised the village on issues related to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency that provides funding to the authority.

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