Generally I like Bill de Blasio, but it still makes me chuckle that he lives on 11th Street, because only a few years ago I lived on 11th Street with a nervous dog who, on walks up to and back from Prospect Park, probably used to pee on his gate. And, it turns out, probably defecated on the sidewalk in front of another building he owns: 384 11th Street, down the street from their primary residency on the block I used to live on—and the family collects rental income on the property, though they declined to report that to the Conflict of Interest Board.
The vinyl-sided one-family with a columnated porch was home to de Blasio’s mother until she died in 2007; since then, the family has rented it out. “His 2011 tax return shows $47,500 in rental income”—or about $4,000/month for two apartments—”offset by $62,200 in deductions for the property,” Crains reported. “A campaign spokesman argued that because there was no net income, the rental proceeds did not need to be reported to the conflicts board.” It’s unclear whether, say, a judge would uphold this legal logic, and underscores a simple bit of advice for those across myriad professions: honesty is the best policy, and transparency is virtue.
The news is unlikely to cost de Blasio the election, but coming out the way it did makes it feel scandalous, or at least distasteful. As any New Yorker living in the second of the candidate’s Two Cities knows, never trust landlords—even if, like the de Blasios, they’re nice. “They are just the most wonderful people,” the first-floor tenant told Crains. “Anything that’s a problem, they take care of it immediately.” Like campaign finance filings?
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