Omaha City Councilman Vinny Palermo said little during a pair of public meetings Tuesday, a day after he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of failing to file federal income taxes.
Palermo answered a single question shouted by a reporter before heading to lunch with his wife. That was about his future serving South Omaha on the council.
“Absolutely, I will not resign,” he said, after briefly describing his tax case as “an administrative matter.” Then he hit the exit.
Palermo, 46, came back for the council’s regular meeting, where no member of the public spoke about Palermo’s case. Nor did any council member, including several who were asked for comment again Tuesday. Mayor Jean Stothert also has not commented.
The Omaha city charter allows the City Council to remove a fellow member if it decides that a member has been convicted of a crime that violates the member’s oath of office.
Voters also could petition to remove Palermo from office. They would need about 3,000 signatures from registered voters in his South Omaha district, Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse said.
Kruse said nobody had requested petition documents from the election office as of Tuesday afternoon.
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Palermo admitted in court Monday to failing to file income tax returns for 2012, 2013 and 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
His lawyer, James Martin Davis, said Palermo filed his tax forms more than two years ago and has spent the past several months negotiating the amount of money he owed. He agreed to pay $21,209.
The only statement about the case in Palermo’s own words came from court documents, where he said, “I failed to file my tax returns several years ago in a timely manner. They have now been filed.”
Palermo’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6. He could face up to a year in prison on each count, along with fines of up to $100,000, as well as a year of supervised release.
Davis has said he expects Palermo to serve no prison time.
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