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New Jersey’s Mana Contemporary Arts.
New Jersey’s Mana Contemporary Arts.

Mana Contemporary Arts Head Indicted For Alleged $7.8 Million Tax Dodge

Eugene Lemay, the founder and executive director of Jersey City, New Jersey’s Mana Contemporary Arts, has been placed on leave following his indictment on tax fraud charges, according to multiple reports. “Mr. Eugene Lemay is no longer involved in the management of Mana Contemporary,” said a spokesperson for Mana Common, which owns Mana Contemporary’s several locations, including the Jersey City flagship. “He has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the current action against him.”

In October, Lemay was charged by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York with count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS for his attempt to evade $7.8 million in payroll taxes; a colleague, accountant Joel Lingat was slapped with an identical charge. According to a statement issued by US Attorney Damien Williams, the pair between 2010 and 2016 “ran a scheme that involved paying shell companies and misclassifying workers as independent contractors in order to dodge . . . payroll taxes.” Lemay and Lingat are alleged to have done this while helping to run moving and storage company Moishe’s Moving Systems, which is owned by real estate developer Moishe Mana, the financial backer of Mana Contemporary. If found guilty, each faces up to five years in prison.

Lemay was also hit with two charges of tax evasion, for having “engaged in criminal chicanery” in his attempt to avoid paying personal income taxes in 2014 and 2015, according to Williams. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.

According to Artnet News, Lemay was the first employee Mana hired upon founding Moishe’s Moving Systems in 1983. Mana became a billionaire, in part owing to the profits reaped by the company. Lemay remained with the company and during the seven years mentioned in the filing served as its president.