This guy is quite a piece of… work.
Chaim Deutsch, a New York City councilman representing Brooklyn pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion last week. He didn’t pay $82,000 in taxes and deducted fraudulent business expenses related to his real estate management company. For that, the Democrat could face up to a year in prison. He doesn’t have to resign though, due to a technicality.
Under the public officers law, Council members face automatic expulsion if they plead guilty to a felony or a crime related to their elected office. But Deutsch, in his plea deal, only pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and it involved his personal finances. He doesn’t have to resign, and apparently he won’t.
Deutsch’s lawyer says his client’s guilty plea won’t interfere with his ability to carry out his Council duties. “He intends to fulfill the will of the voters and complete the term for which he was elected,” the mouthpiece says. I’m pretty sure the will of the voters has substantially changed, now that they know they voted for a crook. And a felon—which is what Deutsch is no matter what he pleaded to—can’t possibly ” carry out his Council duties.” Among those duties is maintaining the public’s trust. He is also likely to have his influence on the Council reduced to the vanishing point, as it plans on punishing Brooklyn’s finest if he refuses to resign. That’s certainly not in the interests of his constituents.
“New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch admitted today that he defrauded the I.R.S. in connection with his real estate business,” Audrey Strauss, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “As an elected official and community leader, Deutsch had a particular responsibility to follow the law. Instead, over a multiyear period, Deutsch concealed his true business income to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.”
But Deutsch is determined to follow one law, at least: the one allowing him to stay in office until his term expires. He’s a stickler for that one.