The trial of Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore on tax evasion charges will begin in U.S. District Court today.
Gilmore, the head of the most powerful Republican organization in the state and a close ally of former Gov, Chris Christie, was indicted in January on charges that he evaded paying for than $1 million in taxes.
He is claiming a hoarding disorder.
The government says Gilmore lived a lavish lifestyle, including spending nearly $500,000 on antiques and art, more than $100,000 on family vacations in Colorado, and $80,000 on model trains.
Gilmore has refused to give up his county chairmanship and remains chairman of the Ocean County Board of Elections.
Republican leaders have stood behind him.
“These are accusations. He has claimed he’s innocent, and he’s going to trial,” State Sen. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood) told the New Jersey Globe last month. “This is an accusation. He hasn’t been convicted. I’m still a believer in ‘you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty.’ We’re going through the process. We all believe in the process, and the end result will be what the process determines.”
Gilmore has been the boss in Ocean County since 1996, when he took over for Joseph Buckalew after a fifteen-year apprenticeship. Under his leadership, Republicans have never lost a race for countywide office or a race for the legislature and GOP candidates for President, Governor and U.S Senate have carried Ocean in every race.
The verdict in the Gilmore trial could impact the re-election of Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton) in New Jersey’s 3rd district, one of the most carefully watched congressional races of 2020.
The six-count indictment alleges that Gilmore filed false tax returns, failed to pay payroll taxes, and made false statements on an application for a bank loan. The Justice Department claims that Gilmore concealed information from the Internal Revenue Service.
The tax evasion count and the two counts of failing to collect, account for, and pay over payroll taxes each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The two counts of filing a false tax return each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The count alleging loan application fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.gilmore.indictment_0