Friars Club Director Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

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Jeff Ross with Michael Gyure at the Friars Club

Michael Gyure faces up to three years in prison and must repay $156,920 in back taxes, but "the club has not been accused of any wrongdoing," a Friars Club spokesman maintains.

Michael Gyure, the embattled executive director of New York's venerable Friars Club, pleaded guilty to filing false federal income tax returns. Gyure, 50, has agreed to repay the IRS $156,920 in unpaid taxes and faces a maximum of three years in prison.

“As he admitted in court today, while serving as the executive director of a private club in Manhattan, Michael Gyure ripped off the IRS," Manhattan U.S. attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Tuesday in a statement. "Gyure’s filing of false tax returns is no laughing matter, and he now awaits sentencing for this crime.”

Gyure's tenure overseeing the storied club, frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra and countless comedians from Milton Berle to Sarah Silverman, first came under scrutiny after U.S. Postal inspectors raided the institution in February 2017, carting out boxes of financial documents and stacks of computer equipment. 

That investigation dovetailed with another legal controversy hanging over the club, involving a former receptionist accusing Friars executive Bruce Charet of sexual harassment. That case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Charet nevertheless denied any wrongdoing in a 2017 Hollywood Reporter investigation into the Friars Club scandals. Gyure, however, refused to talk for that story. 

He was certainly talking in court on Tuesday. Gyure admitted to receiving $273,000 in reimbursements and direct payments from the Friars Club for "personal expenses" between 2012 and 2016. Those expenses included, among other things, purchases of wine, flight tickets for Gyure and his family, clothing and groceries.

In the same time period, the Friars Club "reclassified more than $160,000 in loans that had previously been made to Gyure as additional compensation, above and beyond Gyure's salary," according to a press release.

The additional unreported income came at a cash-crunch time for the Friars Club, when vendors were having trouble getting their invoices paid and the club failed to pay several hundred thousand dollars in sales taxes to the State of New York.

In a statement to THR, a Friars Club spokesman said, “The historic and legendary Friars Club has learned that its executive director, Michael Gyure, has been charged with underreporting his income on his personal taxes. The charge concerns Mr. Gyure only; the Friars Club has not been accused of any wrongdoing. It is our understanding that Mr. Gyure has addressed the charge through his personal counsel, as the charge pertains to his personal affairs."

"The Friars Club appreciates the significant contributions Mr. Gyure has made over the years to our organization," the statement continued. "We will have no further comment on this matter as the case proceeds in court."

Sentencing for Gyure is scheduled for April 22. The case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office's Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.