Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Friars Club Scandal: Director of Club Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Tax Fraud, US Attorney Says: “No Laughing Matter”


I told you two years ago that the Friars Club was a cesspool of trouble.

Today the director of the club, Michael Gyure (sounds like “jury”) pleaded guilty in federal court to tax evasion.

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

I first told you that the Friars were cooking their books. They were they raided by the feds on February 14, 2017.

from the press release: Gyure, 50, of New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of filing false federal income tax returns, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. GYURE has agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of at least $156,920, which represents the additional tax due and owing as a result of GYURE’s underpayment of income taxes for the tax years 2012 through 2016. Sentencing is scheduled for April 22, 2019, at 2:45 p.m., before Judge Buchwald.

The Friars Club, located in a famed five story mock Tudor castle on East 55th St., once boasted a membership of great comedians like Freddie Roman, Alan King, and Jerry Lewis. But over the years, celebrities have decamped, only to be replaced by anyone who could pay the membership. A look at their website shows photographs of people no one’s ever heard of. In time, those people have devalued the glamour of the club.

(Many ironies abound here: first of all, a long time member of the Friars Club is agent Don Buchwald, who is not involved in any chicanery at all. But the judge who came down on Gyure is also named Buchwald. Plus “Gyure”sounds like “jury.” Haha.)

The Friars Club recently also settled a million dollar sexual harassment claim from a former receptionist. I am told stories on a daily basis about more questionable activity in what was once a great private club. It’s unclear if Gyure has ratted out — or will rat out– his fellow reprobates for a lighter sentence. (My guess is he will.)

Last month celebrities piled into the Friars Club to honor Billy Crystal. I warned Crystal in advance that he’d missed the stories about illegal activity at the Friars. He went ahead with the ceremony anyway.

Is there more to come? We’ll see. No one knows what happened to a lot of the Friars money, or to their specious Lincoln Awards.

PS The Friars National Association, a registered tax free foundation, has not filed a Form 990 tax return since 2015.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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