Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Questions Raised for Council Members Who Had to Move Into Districts They Represent

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To win a seat on the City Council, you have to live in the district, at least by Election Day, but two current City Council members had to actually move into the districts they wanted to represent, and for some, it's raised a question: where exactly do they really live? NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch has yet to put his name on the mailbox, and on his hall, residents are not inclined to answer questions about their new neighbor, even behind closed doors.

"Yes, I saw him. Call him and ask him all questions," said one neighbor.

He is better known in Midwood, where he had lived for years in a house he has owned since at least 2006. It is now outside the district he represents.

"He's concerned for everyone," said Irwin Falick, Deutsch's neighbor. "It doesn't make a difference."

Deutsch's house was redistricted out of the area he was vying to represent, so before the 2013 election, he rented an apartment down Ocean Avenue some 10 blocks away.

The person that found him the place was a campaign donor who oversees the building. Employees of the building's management company gave more than $5,600 to the Deutsch campaign.

The Board of Elections says that a council member has to live in the district by Election Day. The board does not check if the member maintains that residence or not.

Deutsch would not speak to NY1 for the story or tell NY1 how much he pays in rent.

In a statement, he said that his house, where his wife and children still live, is on the market. He only goes there on the weekends.

Gross: How often do you see him around the neighborhood now?
Falick: I see him at least, I'd say once, twice a week.
Gross: When?
Neighbor: Sometimes during the week and on the weekend.

Deutsch is not the only sitting council member to be asked questions about where he sleeps at night. City Councilman Mathieu Eugene was asked similar questions back in 2007, and the issue has stayed with him ever since.

"We barely saw him, actually, but now, he's started to come here more often and during the afternoon," said Francisco Plasceentia, Eugene's neighbor.

"When I get here at night, he usually comes in at night," said Darryl Taylor, Eugene's neighbor.

Those are Eugene's neighbors in his district in Prospect Park South. The councilman still owns a house in Canarsie, miles from his district.

His tenant said that the councilman isn't making it a permanent residence.

"He's not living here," his tenant said. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP