Is the Deputy Mayor of New York, Robert Steel, flaunting New York City law by making his main place of residence outside the city?
New York City law requires that top level city officials live in the city, a seemingly reasonable restriction. And Robert Steel does affirm that the Big Apple is his home. Observers, however, beg to differ.
How Humble Home?
Home may be “where the heart is” but if your mansion, Mercedes, Lexus, Porsche, wife and four dogs are all in Greenwich, Connecticut it might not count for much where your heart lies.
That is the question some critics are confronting Steel with.
Forced to Choose
Due to an executive order issued by Mayor Bloomberg, all top city officials must live within the city limits unless they are granted a waiver. That meant Steel had 90 days to move into the city from the day he became deputy mayor in August, 2010. At the time of his appointment he was living in his Greenwich home since 1994 when he and his wife purchased it for $5.7 million. Steel never requested a waiver, and purported to have moved to a luxury four bedroom apartment on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea. On September 17, 2010 Steel changed his voting address to his Manhattan address, but nothing else.
His four cars are still registered in Greenwich; four dogs are licensed in Connecticut; Steel’s wife, Gillian, lists her Connecticut address as her voting address and on the address from which she sends her campaign contributions; the deputy mayor himself has used his Connecticut address for his campaign contributions, even while listing his occupation has New York City deputy mayor.
Steel did move his driver’s license to his Chelsea address in May, 2011, almost a full year after he “moved to Manhattan.” New York State law requires residents to report new addresses within ten days of moving.
Where Does He Live?
When questioned about his confusing living arrangement Steel pointed out that his dogs are licensed in Connecticut because that’s where they live. Why would he bring his dogs to New York? The campaign contributions were mistaken, and his cars are registered in Connecticut because that’s where he drives them. He takes a car service into New York, at his own expense.
Steel, just like Bloomberg, does not take a salary from the city, a six figure sum that the job comes with, and instead is paid the symbolic $1 a year salary. And Steel insists that he files his taxes in New York, doing so at considerable personal cost.
He would not offer proof of this, however, and the mayor’s office did not agree to release his tax return.
Steel said, “I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do.”