A federal judge postponed the trial of onetime Jersey City political kingpin Thomas Bertoli less than two weeks after he scheduled the trial to begin in May.
Court records don’t indicate a reason for the adjournment, leaving some wondering why. It’s unusual for a judge to set a trial date and then quickly delay the matter. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office was unavailable for comment.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Martinotti entered a scheduling order on December 9 setting Bertoli’s trial to begin on May 10.
But one week later, a continuance order was filed jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s office and Bertoli’s attorneys, Jack Arsenault and Gregory Jones. Martinotti adjourned the matter on December 22 and scheduled a conference for April 26, records show.
It’s not immediately clear whether the move to postpone Bertoli’s May trial was related to the swearing in of a new U.S. Attorney, Philip R. Sellinger, on the same day the request for a continuance was filed. The U.S. Senate confirmed Sellinger’s nomination on December 7.
Bertoli was indicted in June 2020 with tax evasion, corrupt interference with administration of IRS laws, and failure to file a tax return.
The complaint alleges that Bertoli “obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross receipts for calendar years 2009 to 2016. Bertoli had not, as of April 18, 2017, filed federal tax returns or paid any of the taxes due, other than a $5,000 nominal payment in September 2014, for those years.”
Bertoli operated several businesses during that time period, the government says, including City Street Associates, and Urban Logistics.
According to federal prosecutors, Bertoli received payments from clients, “including payments from developers and construction firms for expediting services on real estate development and construction projects, primarily in Jersey City, New Jersey; and payments from political campaigns for political consulting services in New Jersey.”
The U.S. attorney’s office said that “expediting in the construction industry typically refers to facilitating the acquisition of building permits and other government agency approvals required for the completion of real estate projects.
“He concealed and attempted to conceal from the IRS his income and assets through various means; Bertoli cashed at check cashers payments from his clients, made false and fraudulent statements to the IRS, and used the Urban Logistics bank account for personal expenditures,” the government claims.
He is accused of not paying taxes between 2009 and 2012 and evading the assessment of taxes for 2014.
Following his arraignment, Bertoli was released on $500,00 bail.