Home / Top Story / Landlord pal got illegal tax break while NYC pol rented his home

Landlord pal got illegal tax break while NYC pol rented his home

City Councilman Corey Johnson lived in his friend’s studio apartment while the pal illegally benefited from a property tax credit at the address, records show.

Johnson’s friend and landlord, Alan Gomez, owned the Chelsea apartment from 2007 to 2014 while living at another address, property records show.

Johnson — who easily won reelection last week and is a top contender for the City Council Speaker post — started renting the apartment in 2009 and lived there even after Gomez sold it in 2014.

While he leased the apartment to Johnson, Gomez benefited from a property tax break on the pad that is known as a STAR credit, records show.

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The credit is a state tax exemption that New York homeowners can receive on their primary residence.

Records show that, while Johnson rented the apartment from Gomez, Gomez saved between $ 232 and $ 304 each year on his property tax bill. In total Gomez saved about $ 1,600 on property taxes on the apartment by continuing to claim the STAR credit, according to tax records.

Under the STAR credit rules, a primary residence is one where the homeowner lives at least six months out of the year.

If homeowners lie on their STAR application, they face up to a $ 2,500 penalty and must repay the benefit plus interest, according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

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Johnson’s campaign spokesman, Austin Shafran, said the councilman in no way knew about the STAR credit.

“Councilman Johnson was completely unaware that his landlord had applied for a tax rebate of any kind,” Shafran said.

Gomez, who donated $ 175 to Johnson’s 2013 campaign, could not be reached for comment.

The News previously reported that Gomez let Johnson slide on his rent in 2013 during his inaugural run for City Council. Johnson reported on a financial disclosure form that the rent break was a $ 7,500 loan from Gomez, whom he described as a friend.

Johnson paid back the loan in 2016.

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