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Feds Charge Longtime Hudson County Political Fixer Tied To JC Mayor With Tax Evasion

Thomas Bertoli
Thomas Bertoli Photo Credit: HudsonCountyChronicles.com

A former rough-and-tumble political operative from Hudson County who helped run campaigns for Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, among others, was arrested Wednesday by federal agents who charged him with evading taxes on payments from builders and developers to expedite their projects.

Thomas “Tommy” Bertoli, 62, a North Bergen native now living in Matawan, has worked political campaigns throughout the state for more than 40 years – among them, Fulop’s successful 2005 council run and victorious 2013 mayoral campaign – after starting out as a street organizer.

Bertoli, who earned the nickname “the janitor” for his reputed skill at cleaning up political messes, comes from a well-known, hard-nosed Hudson County family.

His father became a folk hero in the Eighties when he refused to become a cooperating witness in a federal bribery case that sent former Union City Mayor William Musto to prison.

Federal authorities zeroed in on the younger Bertoli’s dealings with builders and developers through several of his businesses: Doormen Inc.; City Street Associates and Urban Logistics.

Bertoli made hundreds of thousands of dollars from 2009 to 2016 expediting permits and other government approvals for real estate development and construction projects, primarily in Jersey City, and “from political campaigns for political consulting services in New Jersey,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Wednesday.

He ducked taxes for calendar years 2009-2013 and evaded the assessment of taxes for 2014, the U.S. attorney said.

To hide the money, Carpenito said, Bertoli used check-cashing companies to cash client payments, used a company bank account for personal expenses and “made false and fraudulent statements to the IRS.”

Authorities had yet to schedule a first appearance for Bertoli before a U.S. magistrate judge on charges of tax evasion, corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue laws and failure to file a federal tax return, Carpenito said

Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI with the investigation leading to the charges. Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorneys J Fortier Imbert and Jihee G. Suh of his Special Prosecutions Division.

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