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Report names former Staten Islander, Olympic skier Gary di Silvestri, in messy Caribbean real estate flap

14281056-largeBy Diane C. Lore/Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — An Olympic cross-country skier from Staten Island, who is representing the Caribbean island of Dominica in the Sochi Winter Games, is being linked to a tax evasion case involving a messy real estate deal in the Caribbean.

According to a report on,  although the two were never implicated and no charges were filed in the case, Gary di Silvestri, 47, who grew up in Sea View and graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School, along with his Italian-born wife, Angelica Morrone, apparently sold property they owned for $30 million in what was reported to authorities as a $10.5 million transaction.

The deal took place in the Turks and Caicos Islands over a period between January of 2005 and March of 2007. Purchasers of property there pay a one-time “stamp duty” and owe no other sort of taxes to the government.

When tax collectors in the Turks and Caicos subsequently found out that the buyer, American Tim Blixseth, had actually paid $30 million to di Silvestri for the property, they went after Blixseth, directing him to pay $1.7 million in unpaid “stamp duty” taxes, plus penalties and interest on the transaction.

In 2012 Blixseth turned around and sued di Silvestri and Morrone  in  U.S. District Court in Miami — where the couple reside during the year  — accusing the couple of being the masterminds behind the low-balling real estate tax fraud deal.

According to court papers filed in March of that year, Blixseth’s suit alleges the former Islander and his wife created a “shell corporation” called Ital Swiss “with the “primary purpose of evading the claims of creditors” and “to evade taxes on at least $12.5 million paid by Blixseth in the acquisition of Emerald Cay (property) from the United States Internal Revenue Service.”

The lawsuit was thrown out of federal court when the judge in the case ruled the U.S. did not have jurisdiction, arguing that it was a matter for the courts in the Turks and Caicos to decide.

When the case was finally heard in the courts there, according to the report, the two attorneys involved in the land sale were indicted. Gordon Kerr, the attorney representing di Silvestri and Morrone in the transaction, was charged with “cheating the public revenue, conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to false account.”

Di Silvestri and Morrone have shared the media spotlight since qualifying for the Winter Games to represent the Caribbean tropica rain-forest nation of 70,000 people.

The one-time hedge-fund magnate was the subject of a story in the New York Times.

A profile by Advance sportswriter Jim Waggoner described how the two, who have been competitive skiers since 2005, met with overwhelming success in the financial world, and got involved in establishing children’s hospitals in needy countries.

That was the Dominica hook and the citizenship angle needed for Olympic participation. The former French colony is nestled between Guadeloupe and St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea.

They’ve been told that they represent the first husband-wife team ever competing in the same Olympics event — he in the men’s 15-kilometer classical race, and she in the women’s 10-kilometer classical race.

Morrone, who was scheduled to compete on Thursday, subsequently posted a “DNS” — “did not start” — in her event, while di Silvestri was supposed to make his debut in the men’s classic on Friday.

PHOTO: Former Staten Islander Gary di Silvestri and his wife, Italian-born Angelica Morrone, both cross-country skiers, are representing the Caribbean country of Dominica in the Sochi Winter Olympics. Associated Press

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