Omaha Councilman Vinny Palermo says he can operate business from jail

Omaha City Councilman Vinny Palermo has been stripped of his vice president role.
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 1:34 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Councilman Vinny Palermo says he’ll be able to continue to operate his tree service business while he’s in jail awaiting trial for fraud and conspiracy charges.

According to court documents filed this week in Douglas County Court, Vinny Palermo’s attorney told the judge that his client “can continue to operate and manage Vinny’s Tree Service while incarcerated.”

It’s unclear how that would work. Because he’s in jail and unable to attend weekly meetings is the main reason why his colleagues on the Omaha City Council stripped him of the vice president role last week.

His wife, Aubrey Palermo, in court documents filed on March 31, is fighting to regain access to the business, which she claims to own 85% of, but says the councilman’s brother and sister have been running the company and blocking her access to business accounts that handle finances, billing, and operations.

District Court Judge Russell Derr ruled that the dispute over the management of the business is “generally outside the perimeters of this dissolution of marriage.”

The couple is in the process of a divorce, initiated not long after the FBI searched the Palermos’ south Omaha home in December.

His wife alleges in the filing that he is “abusing and intentionally squandering marital asses” in order to diminish her share in their assets. She also says he used about $173,000 of her retirement fund to pay his back taxes, fines, and other debts.

The councilman pled guilty in 2019 to not filing income tax returns for three years. He was subsequently sentenced to four years probation and a $35,000 fine.

“The FBI raid on the marital residence and subsequent divorce proceedings have created irreconcilable acrimony between the owners of the business,” according to court documents filed by Aubrey Palermo’s attorney.

First steps taken to recall Omaha City Councilman Vinny Palermo

The councilman representing southeast Omaha has been in federal court facing federal charges including wire fraud.

City Councilman Vinny Palermo represents Omaha's 4th District, covering southeast Omaha.

This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.

Reporter Brian Mastre and Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.