A candidate running for the locally elected receiver of taxes position may not actually live in Harrison, the Review has learned.
According to property records obtained by this newspaper, Michael Giordano owns homes in Westchester and Putnam counties; he owns a home in West Harrison on Woodside Avenue and a home in the village of Brewster in Patterson, New York, on Blossom Lane.
Yet, Giordano has indicated on tax forms that his Blossom Lane home is his primary residence. According to documents received by the Review from the town of Patterson in response to a Freedom of Information Law, FOIL, request, Giordano has been receiving a School Tax Relief exemption, also known as a STAR exemption, at his Brewster residence since 2001. The last time he received the exemption was in 2016, and, according to Amanda Tompkins, Patterson’s assessment clerk, he is scheduled to receive the exemption again in September of this year.
According to the New York state Department of Taxation and Finance, multiple-property owners in the state must collect a STAR exemption only on the property they consider their primary residence, the location where they spend the majority of their time.
But when asked by the Review which of the two was his primary residence, Giordano said that he lives in West Harrison and that he owns property in Brewster. However, he did admit that his wife and children live at the Brewster residence, and said that he visits there regularly.
In mid-June, Giordano’s son, Anthony, graduated from Brewster High School.
Giordano is seeking to run as a Republican in the general election by way of primary, hoping to unseat the party-backed candidate Rosa Mastrogiacomo-Luongo. The winner of that primary would take on the Democratic candidate, Maria Mioli Pennella, also a registered Republican, and independent candidate Helen Pesce in November election.
Joe Angilletta, Mastrogiacomo-Luongo’s campaign manager and uncle, pointed to the fact that Giordano’s Brewster home is not currently on the market, adding, “In my opinion, I believe he’s committing election fraud and defrauding the good people of Harrison.”
However, Giordano pointed to state election law, which requires only that a candidate for elected office has the means to establish a primary residence in the municipality in which they are seeking office when the term of that office commences. “I’ve told everyone that my established residence will be, and it is, 14 Woodside Ave.,” Giordano said.
According to data from the Westchester County Board of Elections, BOE, Giordano has only been registered to vote in Westchester—using his West Harrison residence—since Aug. 16, 2016. Prior to that, according to the Putnam County Board of Elections, he had been registered to vote at his Brewster home.
If elected on Nov. 7, Giordano said he will live in the apartment of his two-family West Harrison home while his wife lives in the Brewster home. But eventually, he would plan to sell the Putnam County property. “We’re definitely going to sell that house,” he said. “I’m not going to stay by myself in Harrison forever.”
Giordano has been a Harrison employee in the tax receiver’s office for 22 years and currently earns an annual salary of $70,666. His election would constitute a nearly $40,000 per year raise, as the tax receiver in Harrison makes $101,050 per year and is elected to a four-year term.