A Westchester County legislator’s ownership of an Upper West Side apartment is under scrutiny, as the co-op – despite being part of an affordable housing program – is currently being used as an investment property. David McKay Wilson, Tax Watch columnist for Rockland/Westchester Journal News, first reported the story.
Vedat Gashi is the Board of Legislators Chairman in Yorktown, NY, and owner of an investment property at 72 West 88th Street (on the Columbus Avenue corner). A Democrat, Gashi recently served on a committee that investigated the resignation of Yonkers legislator Chris Johnson, who was said to have violated the rules of the Yonkers fair housing program by renting his affordable housing unit after moving out.
Gashi now finds himself in a similar situation. The 45-year-old from Kosovo and his wife, Vjosa, bought a four-bedroom unit at 72 W. 88th St. for just $849,000 in 2015, according to property records. The median price of a one bedroom apartment in New York City in 2015 was $750,000.
Gashi and other co-op shareholders are permitted to rent their units for up to 18 months in a five-year period, according to NYC’s affordable housing program. However, the apartment must remain Gashi’s primary residence, Tax Watch reports. Gashi lists a five-bedroom, four-bathroom Yorktown home as the family’s home.
“It’s outrageous,” Gale Brewer, New York City Councilwoman whose district includes W. 88th St., told Tax Watch. “These are supposed to be for low-income people, not used as investment properties.”
Gashi, who finished second in a congressional race in 2022, maintains his innocence.
“My wife and I worked and saved to purchase this apartment in 2015 to be our family home for us and our children,” he said in a statement. “Our family has grown and we have made our way back to my childhood home in Yorktown, where my wife and kids and I now reside and my kids attend school. We have followed every housing rule and have always sought explicit written permission for our use of residence in this building from the cooperative, including ensuring that we qualified to purchase.”
It is the responsibility of the building’s co-op board to enforce regulations related to affordable housing, a spokesman for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development told Tax Watch. The department is responsible for the probe into Gashi, who serves as the board secretary at 72 W. 88th.
Dan Branda, a Republican running against Gashi in the November 7 election, is calling for the Board of Legislators to investigate Gashi.
“It’s insulting that Vedat would try to claim special permissions or ignorance about the legal restrictions of his 4-bedroom affordable housing apartment,” Branda sad to Tax Watch. “His feigned ignorance is akin to an experienced pilot pretending not to recognize the cockpit controls. Someone as sophisticated and experienced as Vedat cannot be this feckless in the arena that he’s built his career upon.”