FLATBUSH - As controversy continues to surround the residency of newly elected City Council member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, many in the community are chalking it up to politics as usual. Eugene beat nine other candidates for the 40th District seat in February. However, since the elections, questions have risen regarding Eugene?s residency. City Council members insist he lives in Canarsie, not the 40th District, and they refused to swear him in. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who consulted the state attorney general, is asking for proof of residency. Although Eugene maintains he had a lease in the district dated February 1, he refuses to provide evidence of his residency. Instead, he?s calling for a re-vote. Dick Dadey of the Citizens Union says "It's unfortunate that someone who ran for this office was not a legal resident, and the fact that he has been unable to provide proof gives us pause about his qualifications to be a forthright public servant who can speak to the truth." Some 40th District residents insist Eugene won fair and square and should be given the benefit of the doubt. Others blame the controversy on the political system itself, saying the topic should have been investigated before the election. A new election process could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NYC), who must approve the special election, says he will comply with Eugene's request. If the new special election goes forward, city officials say it will likely not happen until the end of April.
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