Boiling Tea Partier: Former NY honcho sues IRS, FBI
A prominent former state Tea Party organizer insists that he’s being targeted by the IRS for his political activities — and is now firing back with a $20 million lawsuit.
Sam Zherka, a Westchester newspaper owner and city strip-club mogul, is suing the FBI and the IRS in Manhattan federal court, saying that the only reason he is under scrutiny in a tax investigation is his prominent Tea Party activities from 2009-10.
That’s right about the time that the IRS now admits it began conducting heightened investigations of Tea Party and other politically conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status, the lawsuit notes.
“I was the loudest voice in the state of New York for the Tea Party movement,” Zherka, owner of the Flatiron’s VIP Club and the Times Square Cheetah’s Gentleman Club, told The Post yesterday.
“We started promoting [the Tea Party] in our newspaper,” said Zherka, owner of the free weekly Westchester Guardian. “I personally penned an article which calls [President] Obama, [Sen.] Chuck Schumer and [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi a bunch of morons.”
Back then, he said, he had tens of thousands of people attending rallies and signing petitions as the first steps toward forming an upstate-based Tea Party group.
Zherka “participated in dozens of public rallies at which he addressed thousands of citizens speaking out against political corruption and high taxes,” says his lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday.
His activities drew “considerable media attention,” the suit says, adding, “Upon information and belief, this media attention and coverage was the catalyst for the abuses — and corresponding constitutional violations.”
In the first example of alleged abuse, Zherka said, it took eight months before he could get his group approved as a tax-exempt political organization — and only after he changed its name to New Yorkers for Good Government. The feds later began flipping his former business associates against him in order to “fabricate ‘evidence’ ” to claim he’s dodging taxes, Zherka said.
Zherka, who is holding a press conference today announcing the suit, is no stranger to courthouses or media spotlights.
He has sued bloggers, political opponents and a dozen Westchester communities in recent years, and earlier this month invited the press to a 52nd-birthday party for ex-NBA-star pal Dennis Rodman featuring thongs inscribed “Make Love Not War” as Kim Jong Un-inspired party favors.