Chaim Deutsch was automatically expelled from his Sheepshead Bay City Council seat after pleading guilty to tax fraud last week, according to the Council Speaker.
“Based on our review of the charging document and Mr. Chaim Deutsch’s plea agreement, the Council has concluded that the office of the 48th Council District has been vacated under the operation of law,” said Corey Johnson in a Tuesday night statement. “Mr. Deutsch confessed to a crime and violated his oath of office. He is no longer a member of the City Council.”
Deutsch, a conservative-Democratic firebrand, was elected to the southern Brooklyn legislative post in 2013, where he has served ever since.
The pol — one of the most independently wealthy members of the Council — had pledged to divest from his real estate earnings, where he made between $100,000 to $249,999 on top of his $148,000 Council salary, in 2017 ahead of a new law forbidding councilmembers to receive outside income that was slated to go in effect January 2018.
On April 22, however, Deutsch entered a guilty plea to federal charges of tax evasion, stemming from falsified tax returns he had filed between 2016 and 2018.
According to prosecutors, Deutsch avoided around $82,076 in money owed to the federal government.
“New York City Council Member Chaim Deutsch admitted [Thursday] that he defrauded the IRS in connection with his real estate business,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss said following the guilty plea.
Now-former Councilmember Deutsch had long portrayed himself as a champion of law and order, often aligning with pro-authorities factions of the government on policing and prosecutorial issues.
Following his guilty plea, Deutsch agreed to pay back the money owed plus interest, and faces a maximum sentencing of up to one years imprisonment, one year of supervised release and a maximum fine of $100,000 in addition to an order of restitution.
Johnson’s office announced that Deutsch had violated New York State Public Officers Law §30(1)(e), which automatically ejects a public office holder from their post if that person is convicted of a crime “involving the violation of his oath of office.”
Deutsch, through a lawyer, claimed he was “evaluating all of his legal rights and options.”
“Mr. Deutsch did the right thing by admitting his mistakes and accepting responsibility. This is more than most who have served in the City Council,” said the lawyer, Henry E. Mazurek.
The election to replace the pol will occur as regularly scheduled next November, but the winner could theoretically assume office prior to the regularly scheduled date of Jan. 1, 2022.
Deutsch’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 29 at 10 am.
Update (9:30 pm): This story has been updated to include comment from Chaim Deutsch’s lawyer.