Statement from Speaker Heastie on the Matter of Lester Chang

I would like to thank Chairman Charles D. Lavine and the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee for their extraordinarily thorough work in reviewing the matter of Lester Chang’s residency in Brooklyn.

The members of the Assembly Majority take the New York State Constitution - as well as the will of the voters - very seriously. 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. This includes the unrefuted evidence related to Mr. Chang’s Manhattan rent-regulated apartment and the government subsidies he accessed.

By operation of law, as Mr. Chang was certified the winner in the 49th Assembly District election, he has been seated as a member of the New York State Assembly.

Although it is clear that there were more than enough votes to expel Mr. Chang, we will not do so at this time. However, given the totality of the evidence we have decided to forward the materials gathered pursuant to the committee’s subpoenas and from Mr. Chang’s own submissions to relevant criminal, civil and administrative authorities for further review and any action they deem necessary.

As a reminder, the New York State Constitution gives the Assembly the authority to revisit this issue at any time.

Further, this matter has brought to light electoral issues and we will be introducing a legislative remedy in the near future.

Let this be a warning to anyone who tries to dupe voters – the political manipulation of residency will not go unchecked.

Again, I want to thank everyone who participated in the review for their cooperation.