Council to Investigate Eugene's Residency

Because of “credible allegations” about Mathieu Eugene’s place of residence leading up to and on the day of his election, the City Council will launch an investigation to determine whether he meets residency requirements to hold office, Speaker Christine Quinn said in a public statement just now.

Both Vincent Ignizio and Dr. Eugene will be asked to sign an affidavit that affirms they each meet the qualifications for office (age, citizenship, etc), including residing in his district on the day of the election. This includes providing documentation of meeting the qualifications, which could include but not be limited to a lease, drivers license, rent payment, electrical bill, etc.

Because credible allegations have been made about Dr. Eugene’s residency, we will also begin an investigation to determine whether Dr. Eugene had established residency on Election Day. This investigation will include, but not be limited to, talking to Dr. Eugene, his family, his landlord and neighbors.

The full statement is after the jump.

– Azi Paybarah

STATEMENT BY SPEAKER CHRISTINE C. QUINN
Re: City Council Special Elections

Following the recent City Council elections, questions were raised about when the Council should swear in newly elected members.

We have determined that we will, for this and all future elections, only swear in members after official board of election certification of the election results.

Questions were also raised about the residency of Dr. Mattieu Eugene. Since residency is one of the qualification for elected office as determined by State Law, and as clear guidelines were not readily available on which entity is responsible for determining whether a candidate-elect meets the proper legal requirements, the Council wrote to Attorney General Cuomo asking for guidance on which body has the legal authority to make residency determinations, and whether residency is required by the day of the election, or the date the election results are certified.

In a letter received last night, the Attorney General’s office cited both the Public Officer’s Law and several legal cases in saying that candidates are required to live in the district in which they run for office on the day of the election.

The Attorney General was not aware of any State agency in whose jurisdiction this determination would lie, nor did the office make any specific recommendations on how to proceed. Based on this, the City Council will make this determination through its own Office of Investigation.

The following steps will take place immediately:

Both Vincent Ignizio and Dr. Eugene will be asked to sign an affidavit that affirms they each meet the qualifications for office (age, citizenship, etc), including residing in his district on the day of the election. This includes providing documentation of meeting the qualifications, which could include but not be limited to a lease, drivers license, rent payment, electrical bill, etc.

Because credible allegations have been made about Dr. Eugene’s residency, we will also begin an investigation to determine whether Dr. Eugene had established residency on Election Day. This investigation will include, but not be limited to, talking to Dr. Eugene, his family, his landlord and neighbors.

Once this process is complete, the City Council will make a determination whether Mr. Ignizio and Dr. Eugene meet the necessary qualifications for office. Upon Board of Election certification and determination of meeting qualifications for office, both will be sworn in.

Speaker Quinn said, “This is an unprecedented issue for the New York City Council, hence the need to seek a legal opinion from the State’s highest ranking attorney, and to proceed with all due deliberation. It is regrettable that there has been so much uncertainty for candidates and their constituents.”

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