Less that eight hours before polls open this morning in Port Chester, incumbent trustee Saverio Terenzi, R, C, I, on Monday night defended himself against criticism during the 2013 campaign for Port Chester village Board of Trustees over his tax debts.
Terenzi, an incumbent seeking re-election today, used his turn during the trustees' comments portion of last night's board meeting to issue a statement saying he is making progress paying off his debts and that he rejected the notion of declaring bankruptcy to get out from under those personal and business debts.
He made the statement shortly after 11 p.m. during a regular board session that started at 7 p.m. at the Village Court on North Main Street. Terenzi has been under fire over the past 10 days since a published report about his tax debts. His statement was among the final comments from the Board of Trustees in its last hours.
Today's election will decide who will be mayor and who will fill all six of the village trustee seats. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Here is the text of Terenzi's statement:
I'm not going to make excuses for my situation, but my political opponents are distorting it for their own gain and I'd like to set the record straight.
If you have a job your employer deducts your taxes. It's just that simple. But if you're in business for yourself it's far more complex. If you suffer business reversals and your entire financial world collapses upon your like a house of cards, you could well be left with obligations that you struggle to meet. In such a situation you apply the cash you have as best you can, to pay bills to keep your business going, to keep people employed, to meet your obligations. It doesn't always turn out well.
I'm sure many people have suffered during the difficult economic climate we have experienced over the last 10 years. I know I have. Worse, our family endured the difficulty of my wife's protracted illness which made this matter only harder to deal with. She passed two years ago.
Am I guilty. Yes, I am. I'm guilty of putting off paying my taxes to keep my businesses alive. To salvage my own personal situation and that of my family. To keep my employees working. It was an error in judgment but it was made with a good heart and for the best reasons during a difficult time.
I have long since made arrangements with the government to pay off my debt and I am making progress. I could have declared personal bankruptcy and walked away, but I did not want to avoid my personal obligations as many might have chosen to.
I may have failed in some business ventures, but it doesn't detract from my ability to understand the complex issues associated with municipal budgets. Just because a ball player can't hit .350 doesn't mean he doesn't understand the sound fundamentals.
In closing I want to say that this information has been public knowledge for a very long time. It doesn't surprise me that it surfaces with a vengeance only in the week before the election. I think it highlights just how thin my opponents' resumes are, just how little they have to run on and how much a victory by me and those associated with me scares them. Dan Brakewood especially disappoints me, issuing mean spirited statements when asked to comment. Nice work, Dan, kicking a man when he's down. You may be the smartest guy in the room, with your PhD in sociology, but you lack even a grade school diploma in decency.
I will let the voters of Port Chester decide whether they feel I am worthy to continue to serve them. I love this village and have always done what I feel is in its best interests. I hope to have the opportunity to continue to sit on this board, but whatever happens I will always find a way to give back to my hometown village, which I love with all my heart.
Terenzi, an accountant, is running on the Republican ticket with GOP mayoral candidate Neil Pagano, incumbent Republican trustee Joseph Kenner and Frank Ferrara, a local businessman who is a Democrat. Terenzi also campaigned on the Standing Up for Port Chester Taxpayers ticket with Pagano and incumbent trustee Bart Didden.