The Real Deal New York

City says it accidentally awarded rent break to Brooklyn’s acting DA

Eric Gonzalez, 48, earns $210K per year, but saved $1,760 from program designed to help seniors
March 31, 2017 03:00PM

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez had $80 per month knocked off the monthly rent at his Williamsburg apartment for nearly two years, thanks to a bureaucratic blunder made by the city.

The rent break is for senior citizens who make less than $50,000 year, the New York Daily News reported. Gonzalez, who has been acting in the role following the death of District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, earns $210,00 per year and is 48 years old, according to the newspaper.

The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program was accidentally applied to Gonzalez’s Mitchell-Lama apartment, housing officials told the paper. The city said that it first started in May 2015, after an eligible senior citizen applied for the exemption and it was award to Gonzalez instead.

Gonzalez saved around $1,760 from the benefit, and he has agreed to pay it back, according to the newspaper. A spokesperson for Gonzalez, Lis Smith, said he did not notice the break on his monthly statements.

“He was focused on the fact that his rent went up because of rent increases and surcharges and not on other details in the monthly bill,” Smith said. “He wasn’t paying attention to the little details in his rent bill.”

A housing spokesperson said the agency believes it was an isolated incident, and that an “internal audit” is now underway.

This week, a New York State Supreme Court judge upheld a rent freeze on certain one-year leases. A landlord group, the Rent Stabilization Association, had tried to argue the freeze on rent-stabilized units was politically motivated and didn’t take owners’ costs into account.  [NYDN]Miriam Hall