David DeGerolamo, who runs a Cary graphics business and has been active in tea party politics, said he experienced harassment from the Internal Revenue Service that stretched out for nearly a year. The recent reports that the federal tax agency had targeted conservative groups sound familiar to him after his lengthy go-round over his finances.
Theres no doubt in my mind, he said. It was such a cut-and-dry case. They would antagonize me to try to get me upset, so they could record me being out-of-control.
In 2010, he said, the IRS contacted him over a brokerage account he held and used to buy stocks. He had known previously about an error he made in the paperwork, and he had corrected it, he said.
His brokerage faxed new paperwork, but DeGerolamo said he was repeatedly instructed to pay a $2,000 fine despite having followed instructions. The transaction in question only involved about $6,000, he said.
After meeting agents in person and spending hours on the phone, often on hold, he was never able to settle the matter. Once, he said, he and his accountant tried to resolve the matter together.
My accountant was literally screaming, he said. It was sad. They cant even add.
In 2009, DeGerolamo started NC Freedom, a communications network for tea party groups in the state. He now operates the blog NC Renegade, which describes itself as opinions and commentary for the Hard Tea Party.
DeGerolamo filed suit against the IRS in Winston-Salem in 2010. Shortly after doing do, he was contacted by the IRS in Philadelphia. An agent there asked him to fax a document and wrapped up the matter in five minutes, he said.
They did not want that case going to court, he said.
The IRS has apologized for what it termed inappropriate flagging of conservative groups. Agents were not available Monday to discuss DeGerolamos specific case.