Court on July 28, 2020 cleared Barbara Tulop, a member of the Foreign Investment Board, of the felony charge of Misconduct in Public Office. She was acquitted of the charge of “illegally acting under the color of office or willfully neglecting to perform the duties of her office by committing unsworn falsification in her Financial Disclosure Statement for 2019.”
However,Court found Mrs. Tulop guilty of number of misdemeanor charges involving failure to pay taxes for rental income in 2019 and 2020, engaging in business without business license in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Earlier Mrs. Barbara Tulop was charged by the Special Prosecutor on numerous counts including Misconduct in Public Office, a felony charge. Misdemeanor charges include failure to pay taxes and engaging in business without business license for years 2016-2020.
Mrs. Tulop had rented out her house to Mr. Stephano Tanswella, owner of Gelato Shop in 2016. Mrs. Tulop, reported her attorney, paid her taxes in 2016 but a dispute arose between Mrs. Tulop and Mr. Tanswella as to what was actually leased. Mr. Taswellaclaimed that the land where the building was leased was also part of the lease while Mrs. Tulop claimed only the building was leased. Mrs. Tulop is said to have refused to accept payment and Mr. Tanswella made direct deposit into her account. Mrs. Tulop returned the money to Tanswella’s account and did not claim it as her income in her Ethics Financial Report as member of FIAC Board. She was cleared by the court of the felony charge of Misconduct in Public Office.
The lease dispute became a civil case and was recently resolved in favor of Mrs. Tulop according to her Attorney Polloi.
Mrs. Tulop was found guilty of operating a business without a license for 2016-2020. Tulop’s attorney expressed that Mrs. Tulop “was not deliberately subverting the law” and could be explained.
“ At the time, in 2016, Barbara and her children’s lease with KSPLA was still a residential lease and not a residential/commercial lease. The sublease with Tansella was entered into yet Barbara and her children had not obtained a business license as they were processing a request with KSPLA to convert their lease from residential to residential/commercial. This was eventually granted by KSPLA. Unfortunately, when the lease was converted to be residential/commercial, the civil dispute had already started and Barbara did not act sooner to get a business license. Just when the civil dispute was settled, the SP filed a criminal case which threw everything up in the air.”
Mrs. Tulop, a retiree, is said to be considering foregoing her public service, as it has subjected her to stigma of criminal prosecuting and expensive legal fees.
Sentencing is set for August 24, 2020. Violations of the Unified Tax Act and Code of Ethics are misdemeanors with punishment of up to one year in jail or by a fine of not more than $1,000.