Friday, July 11, 2008

Congressman Rangel, Can I Get An Apartment?

Yet another scandal surfaced late yesterday when the Times reported that our dear Congressman Rangel has four rent-stabilized apartments. There are more than a few people that rent or own several homes, but it is generally financed with their own money. Charlie is paying less than four grand for all four apartments a month, and that isn't the end of it.

From The NY Times:

Mr. Rangel, the powerful Democrat who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, uses his fourth apartment, six floors below, as a campaign office, despite state and city regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence.

Mr. Rangel, who has a net worth of $566,000 to $1.2 million, according to Congressional disclosure records, paid a total rent of $3,894 monthly in 2007 for the four apartments at Lenox Terrace, a 1,700-unit luxury development of six towers, with doormen, that is described in real estate publications as Harlem’s most prestigious address.

The current market-rate rent for similar apartments in Mr. Rangel’s building would total $7,465 to $8,125 a month, according to the Web site of the owner, the Olnick Organization.

The Olnick Organization and other real estate firms have been accused of overzealous tactics as they move to evict tenants from their rent-stabilized apartments and convert the units into market-rate housing.

Now Olnick would never try and forcibly kick Charlie out of his rent-controlled buildings, especially considering he is one of the most powerful members of the House. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the Congressman needs to kick himself out, preferably from at least three residences including the campaign office.

Rangel replied to an interview request with his regular style, “Why should I help you embarrass me?” and then hung up. This is already embarassing, ethics may be a scarce commodity in Washington, especially for the 12 years Republicans held power, but that does not give him the right to skim off the top to his own advantage, even if it is in Harlem....and for all the good he has done for Harlem. The simple fact is that Mr. Rangel is a servant of the people and earns a decent (almost $170K) living for it.....that should be it.