March 31, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Costa Constantinides announced today that he will be leaving office next month, about 8 months before his term in office was to officially end.
Constantinides will resign on Friday, April 9 to take a job in the nonprofit sector as the Chief Executive Officer of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens.
“Today I announce a profoundly difficult and personal decision,” he said in a statement. “I must resign from the New York City Council on April 9th. I have been asked by the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens to become their new Chief Executive Officer and have accepted this role.”
The Astoria council member released a lengthy statement detailing his decision — one, he said, that he made with a “heavy heart.”
“There are many ways to be a public servant that are not in elected office,” he said. “Many times that truth is forgotten by too many. I have committed my life to serving this community and have been searching for a way to continue this service.”
Constantinides’ announcement comes two days after he described his battle with COVID-19, which he and his wife contracted a year ago that day.
He said the virus caused him to lose more than 40 pounds and it damaged his nervous system and digestive tract. It also affected his mental health, causing him to have panic attacks and contemplate suicide, he said.
“I contemplated suicide at one dark point at 1 a.m. when I couldn’t reach my wife who, at that point, was hospitalized for days without regaining consciousness,” Constantinides said in the statement Monday.
On Wednesday, he repeated the struggle his family has faced.
“My time in office has not been without heartbreak and challenges at home,” Constantinides said. “My wife has not been well for a long time and her condition has deteriorated over the last seven years.”
Constantinides has stated previously that his wife has diabetes and is in need of a kidney transplant.
He thanked his family for their love and support, as well as his staff for their dedicated work before thanking the residents he has served for more than seven years.
Constantinides’ departure will not prompt a special election because it is too close to the June primary and November general election.
Instead the winner of the November election will take over as the council member, representing Astoria, Rikers Island and parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside and East Elmhurst.
Tiffany Cabán, Evie Hantzopoulos, Leonardo Bullaro, Catherina Gioino and Nicholas Velkov are running for the seat as Democrats. Edwin DeJesus will be in the general election as an independent, while Felicia Kalan will be running as a Republican.
Constantinides has endorsed Cabán to be his replacement and Evie Hantzopoulos as his second-choice.