Lester Chang won’t be expelled from Assembly despite ‘significant concerns’; evidence to be sent to state authorities for further review

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Assemblymember Lester Chang will not be expelled from the state Assembly over questions of his residency, Speaker Carl E. Heastie announced on Friday.

“After careful review, the vast majority of our members have significant concerns about the truthfulness of Mr. Chang’s documentary evidence and testimony regarding his compliance with the New York State Constitution,” Heastie said in a Jan. 6 statement. “Although it is clear that there were more than enough votes to expel Mr. Chang, we will not do so at this time.”

carl heastie
Heastie said the body will not expel Chang at this time, despite concerns as to the validity of his residency and testimony. Photo courtesy NYS Assembly

Local politicians and voters raised concerns regarding Chang’s residency just days after his victory over longtime Democratic incumbent Peter J. Abbate, Jr., in Assembly District 49 in southern Brooklyn in November. The state constitution requires that legislators live in the districts they represent for a full year before the election, and Chang has long maintained a residence in lower Manhattan. Heastie ordered an investigation, which found that Chang had only changed his voter registration to Brooklyn in February 2022, and had paychecks and other mail sent in his name to the Manhattan address through at least September 2022.

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