NY Official In Hot Water For Using ‘Low Income’ Loophole
Westchester County legislator Vedat Gashi is facing scrutiny for allegedly purchasing a New York City apartment through an affordable housing program and turning it into an investment property.
Gashi, a Democrat from Yorktown, owns the four-bedroom apartment in Manhattan through a co-op’s regulatory agreement, having purchased it in 2015. He and his wife also have a separate five-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot residence in Yorktown where he resides with his family, the Rockland/Westchester Journal News reported.
William Fowler, a spokesman for New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said Gashi’s apartment should serve as the Eastchester Democrat’s primary residence. Under the co-op’s regulatory agreement, apartments like Gashi’s can be sublet for up to 18 months across a five-year period, but must still be used as the owner’s primary residence.
Gashi said he was granted an exemption for the rule but did not provide proof of the exemption. He also serves as secretary of the co-op’s board, according to the outlet. Furthermore, the apartment is listed as a business venture on Gashi’s financial disclosure statement to Westchester County.
In response to the allegations, Gashi said in a statement last week that he and his wife had purchased the apartment in 2015 to be their family home. However, due to their growing family, Gashi said they had since moved back to his childhood home in Yorktown.
Gashi is a real estate attorney who was first elected to the county board in 2019 and became chairperson in May of this year.
Gashi’s alleged violation of the regulatory agreement has sparked an investigation by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and criticism from Republican challenger Dan Branda who is running against him for re-election.
“It's insulting that Vedat would try to claim special permissions or ignorance about the legal restrictions of his 4-bedroom affordable housing apartment,” Branda said. “Someone as sophisticated and experienced as Vedat cannot be this feckless in the arena that he's built his career upon.”
The allegations against Gashi come shortly after another Democratic Westchester County legislator, Chris Johnson, resigned last month for moving out of his affordable condo in his district and into a nearly $800,000 home outside the district. Gashi served on a committee that launched a probe into Johnson’s housing earlier this summer.
The Westchester County Board of Legislators also faced scrutiny in April when a legislative aide was fired months after he was allegedly sending lewd messages to someone he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.
Gashi has denied any wrongdoing and is currently awaiting the results of the investigation into his housing situation.