Sam Zherka, a strip-club owner and newspaper publisher, is suing Terrance Raynor, Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore’s chief of investigations, accusing him of improperly collecting thousands of dollars in School Tax Relief—STAR—credits for his Mount Vernon and Peekskill homes, The Journal News reported today.
Raynor received STAR credits on both houses for several years, according to the lawsuit filed by CT Realty Holdings and Management, one of Zherka’s companies. State law restricts credits to the taxpayer’s primary home.
“Unless Terrance Raynor can cut himself in half and live in two places, he committed tax fraud,” Zherka, publisher of the Westchester Guardian, told The Journal News yesterday.
Zherka’s company filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court Friday, a day after Zherka sued DiFiore through another company, Nubreed Ent. In that suit, he contends that taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the $222,000 it cost to defend the district attorney when he sued her in federal court four years ago. That suit was dismissed and Zherka lost his appeal.
DiFiore called Zherka’s claim “baseless” yesterday and said she, like all public officials, is entitled to legal representation when sued.
Raynor, DiFiore’s chief criminal investigator since 2006, told The Journal News yesterday that he had not seen the lawsuit but would review it before “affirming or denying” the claims. He said he couldn’t answer whether he had received the credits on two properties simultaneously and would need to check his records.
The lawsuit claims Raynor saved at least $26,772 in taxes while allegedly receiving STAR credits from two houses simultaneously.