State Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) said she has been living out of her district since earlier this year as she and her husband plan to adopt a child and search for a new home in Bayside.
Carrozza currently owns two homes and two other sites used for office space in Bayside. But she and her husband, William Duke, have been living in a third home she referred to as “an investment property” in Glen Head, L.I., since March.
“There’s no prohibition in New York state election laws against temporarily living outside the district,” she said. “There was no secrecy involved in my owning the house. It was public information and I think it’s a fair subject of inquiry.”
The assemblywoman said she and her husband, who have two children, are planning to adopt a third child, but the Bayside home in which they had lived prior to their move to Long Island did not provide enough room for five people. Carrozza had also promised to rent that home to an Oregon couple for part of the year and did not want to renege, so she has remained in the Glen Head house for the past four months.
She said she will move back into the other Bayside home she owns Aug. 1 because it is rented out through July. The Long Island property currently serves as her husband’s primary residence, she said.
“There’s no requirement that a husband and wife have the same primary residence,” she said of her status as an elected official.
According to property records, the couple purchased the Long Island home for $1.8 million in June 2008.
Carrozza, who was first elected in 1997, said she had planned to purchase another home in Bayside, but a deal fell through earlier this year, forcing her and her husband to stay in Glen Head. The assemblywoman had lived in another home outside her district in 2001 when she was expecting her first child and her home was undergoing renovation, she said.
“At that time, I had also checked with an election law attorney whether it was OK to be temporarily out of the district,” she said. “I was told it was all right as long as I planned to reside in the district.”
John Conklin, director of public information for the state’s Elections Board, said state laws deem that elected officials could live outside their district as long as they intended to return. But an official is also required to live in the district for 12 months before being elected, he said.
Some Community Board 11 members and political opponents said they were upset Carrozza has been living on Long Island.
“It’s unfair,” said Rob Speranza, a retired police officer who ran as a Republican against Carrozza last fall and plans to run again next year. “How can you represent the area if you don’t live in iti It bothers me. It’s wrong.”
A CB 11 member who did not want to be named said he had been told the assemblywoman had pulled her children out of the city school system.
“In order to prove she is violating law, you have to prove she has no intention of returning,” the board member said. “The smoking gun is where her children go to school.”
But Carrozza said she would not publicly discuss where her children attend school for safety reasons.
She has not yet decided what she will ultimately do with the Glen Head property.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community News Group
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