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New Council Speaker Releases Five Years of Tax Returns

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The new City Council speaker released five years of tax returns late Friday night, a move that comes after she initially failed to report rental income she received. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

New City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is a property owner several times over, and her primary residence, an East Harlem condo, has caused a bit of controversy.

"We are amending, as we speak, I'm amending the forms to ensure the most accurate information," Mark-Viverito said Tuesday.

She did not report her rental income on city financial disclosure forms.

Late Friday, the council speaker released five years of her tax returns, showing she made between $20,000 and $30,000 every year renting out part of the property.

"Rental income is reported on my taxes," Mark-Viverito said Tuesday. "I paid income, with the income taxes, whatever applicable income taxes on that, and that information will be made available."

The newly minted speaker also partially owns four properties in Puerto Rico and did not report any rental income from there.

The tax returns also reveal that the speaker does not give much to charity. On average, between 2008 and 2012, she gave $515 per year.

The tax return issue was the first hiccup for Mark-Viverito, but it failed to derail her successful campaign.

Under her leadership, the Council will likely take up an array of left-of-center policies, many a far cry from proposals under her predecessor.

"We will unite to fight to raise the minimum wage for low-wage workers at fast food restaurants, car washes and airports," she said Wednesday.

Mark-Viverito says she will ban horse carriages and expand mandatory sick leave requirements to even smaller businesses, maybe those as tiny as five employees.

"Even if you work in a little smaller business, that doesn't help you when your kids are sick," said City Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn.

The Council plans to broaden the city's living wage law to not only force developers to pay more than $10 an hour, but their tenants, too.

She also will push forward affordable housing construction, requiring developers to build affordable apartments when they break ground.

Speaking of housing, it's unclear how much rent Mark-Viverito actually charges. Her campaign would not disclose how many tenants she has.

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