New City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went through a final hazing in the days leading up to her selection on Wednesday, with revelations that she holds real estate in Puerto Rico, owns a townhouse in East Harlem; that she appears not to have disclosed income from tenants there (an “unintentional mistake,” her staff said).
This information and more is embedded in financial disclosures that Mark-Viverito and other council members and candidates are required to file. The most recent disclosures, from 2012, reveal important insights about the new City Council, where 21 out of 51 members are freshmen. To note a few:
The City Council has a wealth gap
No one on the council is close to being a member of the 1 percent, but some members have accumulated modest private wealth. At the pinnacle is Peter Koo of Queens, a pharmacist who owns drugstores in Flushing and has a net worth topping $1 million. Mark-Viverito’s defeated rival for the speaker’s post, Daniel Garodnick, likely held more in assets than she did, in stock and retirement accounts. At the other end of the spectrum are freshman Council members with substantial debts, especially from student loans.
Moonlighting: it’s not just for state legislators
Even though a City Council office is a full-time job, some returning members have juggled simultaneous outside employment. Brooklyn’s David Greenfield earned at least $60,000 from his law practice in 2012. Koo earned at least $54,000 from pharmacies and real estate and another $250,000 through other corporations. At least one new member already has a start on a second line of work: Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn earned up to $5,000 for modeling work in 2012, while also working for the City Council.
The city is a Monopoly board
It’s a time-honored practice for New York City Council members to move into their districts on the cusp of an election in order to qualify for the ballot, while retaining property elsewhere. Mathieu Eugene, Fernando Cabrera and Peter Koo are among returning members with multiple real estate identities. They’re joined by some new members, including Mark Treyger, who sold his house in Bergen Beach and moved to Bath Beach.
You can view members sorted by key features of their profiles, including income, debts and property holdings. Categories are calculated based on low end of dollar ranges provided. Toggle the menu to select a category. Hover over each member’s image to see what they’ve disclosed; to see the document they’ve submitted to the board, click on the image.