JERSEY CITY, NJ -Legendary Hudson County political operative Paul Byrne once claimed that he could do just about anything he wanted as long as he paid his federal income tax.
Tom Bertoli, 62, a former close political operative to Mayor Steven Fulop, has been charged by complaint with two counts of tax evasion, one count of corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue laws, and one count of failure to file a tax return. Bertoli has previously said that he has repaid the taxes.
A Monmouth County resident, Bertoli operated The Doormen Inc.; City Street Associates LLC, a/k/a CSA LLC; and Urban Logistics LLC either or through his companies, obtaining payments from clients for services associated with real estate development and construction, primarily in Jersey City. He also received payment for work as a political consultant throughout Hudson County as well as the rest of New Jersey.
Sometimes called “The Janitor” for his role in cleaning up messes, Bertoli has been portrayed as a key political operative and found additional success helping to expedite permits and other government approvals for some of the largest developments in Jersey City, especially along the posh Jersey City waterfront.
Federal authorities said Bertoli obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross receipts for calendar years 2009 to 2016 but had not filed a federal tax return for these by April 18, 2017 other than a $5,000 nominal payment in Sept. 2014. They further claimed in the charges that Bertoli concealed and attempted to conceal from the IRS his income and assets through various means including by cashing at check cashers payments from his clients, making false and fraudulent statements to the IRS, and using the Urban Logistics bank account for personal expenditures.
Sources close to Bertoli dispute the charges, saying that Bertoli has filed tax returns every year except 2013 – which is beyond the statute of limitations, and has been making payments on his past due taxes.
“This started in 2017 when he was approached, not by agents of IRS, but officers from the Office of Public Corruption,” this source said. “This has been going on for three years.”
Other sources close to Bertoli claim the charges against him are in part politically motivated and that he has been pressured to become a cooperating witness against some of the political figures he has worked for over the years. Sources close to Bertoli said federal authorities have issued subpoenas to firms Bertoli has represented.
This is why the charges have taken more than three year to come before a judge, they claim.
Bertoli’s business practices also came under scrutiny last year when an article published by Bloomberg News questioned whether or not in helping development companies navigate through the cumbersome permit process for construction in Jersey City in exchange for hefty fees, Bertoli used his influence with Mayor Steven Fulop to make this happen.
At the time Bertoli blasted the Bloomberg story as vague and misrepresenting facts.
“It’s not that it is in his best interests not to cooperate,” this source said. “It is not in Tom’s nature to cooperate.”
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