Saratoga Springs builder admits not paying taxes
Updated 9:36 p.m.
BALLSTON SPA Saratoga Springs builder David Jelenik admitted in court Friday that he failed to pay taxes, and attorneys expect he will be ordered to pay $200,000 to the state tax department.
Jelenik, 52, of 176 Fifth Ave., pleaded guilty to attempted repeated failure to file personal income tax returns, a misdemeanor. A guilty plea was entered for his business, Jelenik Construction Co., to fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, a felony.
The felony will not go on Jelenik’s criminal record, since his company pleaded guilty to that. It relates to his not paying taxes as president of Jelenik Construction Co. from the years 2005 through 2008.
The misdemeanor relates to his not filing personal income tax returns as an employee of his company from 2005 through 2007. Jelenik filed the personal returns after his arrest in January 2012.
He pleaded guilty to the highest charges lodged against him, said Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III.
“No one likes paying taxes, but all of us must follow the law,” Murphy said in a statement issued Friday.
“Jelenik’s failure to file and pay taxes in a timely manner allowed him to live a lifestyle at the expense of the taxpayers of the state of New York and Saratoga County.”
A forensic accountant was involved in the investigation.
Jelenik owes $200,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance determined during its investigation.
Of that, about $88,000 is the actual tax liability, his defense attorney, Andrew Safranko, said Friday.
Spread over seven years — four for the business and three for his personal taxes — “There’s not an exorbitant amount due for each year,” Safranko said.
Jelenik is not expected to get jail time, and Safranko said he doubts Jelenik will get even probation if he is able to pay the entire sum before his Sept. 20 sentencing.
He is “trying to put together” the funds, Safranko said.
He said Jelenik trusted the faulty advice of a bookkeeper and accountant, and said Jelenik might have continued to plead not guilty in the case except that the state tax department was planning to file more charges.
Jelenik started his business in 1990. Now he is in business as the CEO of Jellco Construction, a business name he recorded with the Department of State in late 2010.
The builder also has faced civil cases and foreclosures filed in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County.
In September, a private lender filed foreclosure proceedings against Jelenik for a mortgage on three parcels he bought at the corner of Maple Avenue and Rock Street in Saratoga Springs. Because he didn’t secure the necessary approvals to develop them, the estate of the Florida man who lent him the money — and later died — filed a foreclosure in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County. That process is still in the courts.
In 2011, two court judgments were entered ordering him to pay Sunmark Federal Credit Union $19,703 and $23,119.
M&T Bank started foreclosure proceedings in June 2011 on a $1.5 million mortgage on Jelenik’s home. That matter has not yet been resolved.
The court did side with Curtis Lumber in a 2011 lawsuit the company filed seeking $72,000 from Jelenik for a credit account.