Rangel's Down, But He's Not Out

In a gesture of solidarity with Harlem's many struggling residents, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has announced that he will vacate one of the four rent-stabilized apartments he currently maintains in the Lenox Terrace luxury complex. The unit in question, a one-bedroom costing Rangel just $630 each month, currently serves as a campaign office, a cozy arrangement that quite clearly violates city and state rent-stabilization guidelines (he's holding on to his two-bedroom, his other one-bedroom, and his studio). But as the New York Times notes, the immaculately dressed Congressman isn't out of the woods yet:

While it appears legitimate for Mr. Rangel to have one rent-stabilized apartment for his home, some Congressional ethics experts question whether his acceptance of the additional units, given at the discretion of the landlord and not generally available to the public, violates the House of Representatives' ban on members accepting gifts of more than $100.

Under House ethics rules, a gift is defined as any "gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other item having monetary value." And some suggest that the difference between what Mr. Rangel pays for the second, third and fourth apartments and the market rate could fit that definition.

Whole thing here.

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  • ||

    Rangel wasn't born of woman like mere mortals, he was shat directly from the anus of the devil himself. He deserves the Rostenkowski treatment.

  • Episiarch||

    If he actually has to give up the apartments or is censured for this I might actually faint.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Warren,

    Nice Macbeth reference but what's "the Rostenkowski treatmeant"?

  • squarooticus||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Rostenkowski

  • ||

    Seems like small potatoes as these things go, but he deserves a black eye nonetheless.

    You know when an upper-middle aged man needs to keep several apartments?

    Bouncy bouncy!

  • LarryA||

    Under House ethics rules

    The only people who need "ethics rules" are those who are not ethical.

  • ||

    Rangel wasn't born of woman like mere mortals, he was shat directly from the anus of the devil himself.

    Mr. Lets-Bring-Back-the-Draft was shit from a sick woman's ass.

  • ||

    And some suggest that the difference between what Mr. Rangel pays for the second, third and fourth apartments and the market rate could fit that definition.

    Of course it does. He will face no repercussions beyond a few weeks bad press.

  • Modo||

    The combined apartment deal is a fairly common practice that is legal under the ridiculous rent stabilization rules in NYC. I hope this discredits the whole scam.

  • Ben||

    What a complete shit bag Rangel is. As a Manhattan resident that pays an arm and a leg for rent I am disgusted by this. If there was any justice Rangel would be thrown out of this city on his ass and tar and feathered. And then rent control would be abolished. Neither of those things will ever happen though.

  • ||

    How is even entitled to one rent-controlled apartment? Dude makes, what, $170k a year, with every expense picked up by the taxpayers or the campaign donors. Even if he's legally entitled, it looks pretty damn sketchy for him to take even one apartment that could be filled by someone with an actual need for rent control.

    I know, I know, I'm expressing shock that a congressman is a sleaze. Will I ever learn?

    Does anybody who knowns more about NYC rent control than me know if there are qualifications based on income? Could Bloomberg or some hedge-fund billionare legally get a rent-controlled apartment? I know they do it in practice, but is it legal?

  • Rhywun||

    Some thoughts:

    One would think the landlord would have a responsibility not to rent multiple apartments to the same person.

    Rangel claims two of the apartments were already joined when he got them. Doesn't let him off the hook for the third (or fourth), though.

    The maximum income allowed is $175,000. I have a hard time swallowing the idea that a powerful politician manages to eke out a living on anything less.

  • GG||

    What a complete shit bag Rangel is. As a Manhattan resident that pays an arm and a leg for rent I am disgusted by this. If there was any justice Rangel would be thrown out of this city on his ass and tar and feathered.

    And in other Rangel is a complete shit bag news:

    What Would You Drive, if the Taxpayers Paid?

    Charles B. Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is not so caught up in the question of gas mileage. He leases a 2004 Cadillac DeVille for $777.54 a month. The car is 17 feet long with a 300-horsepower engine and seats five comfortably.

    "It's one of the bigger Cadillacs," Mr. Rangel, of Harlem, said cheerfully this week. "I've got a desk in it. It's like an airplane."

    Modest or more luxurious, the cars are all paid for by taxpayers. The use of a car - gas included - is one of the benefits of being a member of the House of Representatives.

    There are few restrictions on what kind of car the members can choose, and there is no limit on how much they can spend. But the benefit can be politically sensitive, given the growing concerns about automobile emissions and an economy that has left many people struggling to pay for the rapidly rising cost of gas, which was averaging $3.63 a gallon nationwide earlier this week.

    Not only does the federal government pick up the cost of the lease and the gas, but also general maintenance, insurance, registration fees and excess mileage charges.

    [...]

    Mr. Rangel said he frequently offers rides to constituents so they can discuss their concerns in the luxurious confines of his DeVille.

    "I want them to feel that they are somebody and their congressman is somebody," Mr. Rangel explained. "And when they say, 'This is nice,' it feels good."

  • ||

    Next thing we'll be hearing about is Charlie's Cabin in the Sky.

  • nobody special||

    Mr. Rangel is not the only prominent resident with a rent-stabilized apartment at Lenox Terrace. Gov. David A. Paterson told The New York Sun in May that he pays $1,250 for a rent-stabilized two-bedroom apartment in the complex that rents for $2,600 or more at market rates. Basil A. Paterson, the governor's father, pays $868 per month for his apartment there, in the same building as Mr. Rangel's apartments, according to state records.

    Percy E. Sutton, the former Manhattan borough president and a longtime ally and friend of Mr. Rangel's, also lives at Lenox Terrace, though records about his rent were not available.


    So this goes back to the 60s, these guys and their dads were all up and comers then.

  • Rhywun||

    Interesting... Paterson's salary is $179,000. Guess he'll be vacating his illegally-occupied rent-stabilized apartment any day now. Especially since we now *give* him his primary residence. And free travel. And guards. And on and on. All of which should count as "income" if you ask me.

    And look at that... Rangel should be pulling in $165,000 as a Congressman. That doesn't leave much room for all the outside income or bonuses he undoubtedly reaps. I wonder what his tax return says.

  • ||

    I wonder what his tax return says.

    Hell, it probably says "exempt."

  • JB||

    Wait, a Democrat is a crook?! Let me know when you find an honest one and that will be news.

    I'd like to see Rangel get a license for that mouth of his. If I can't exercise my 2nd Amendment rights, he can't exercise his 1st.

  • Nephilium||

    JB:
    Wait, a Democrat politician is a crook?! Let me know when you find an honest one and that will be news.

    Fixed that for you...

    Nephilium

  • ||

    The weasel words of the NYT are amazing. "Some suggest"? "Could fit"? This is as clear and obvious a violation of the House ethics rules as it's possible to find. The relevant quid pro quo isn't clear though.

  • ||

    Gee, normally you'd think he'd want to buy the places and get that hefty mortgage interest deduction and the benefits of equity, but I guess with those kinds of numbers he's smarter to rent.

    What a pig.

  • ||

    I'm looking on the bright side here; I can now brag that I live in a more expensive apartment than the governor!

  • ||

    GG: If there were any justice in the world, there'd be a law saying that any car provided to Congresscritters get mileage equal to or better than the CAFE standard they push on the rest of us. And if there were any brains on the R side of the aisle, they'd have pushed for that the last time they raised the CAFE standard. But probably the Reps like their big cars as well.

  • ||

    Looks like Rangel made this an issue himself when he decided to use his position in an immoral manner. I thought we were going to have the "most moral congress in history" thanks to Nancy Pelosi. I was disappointed by Clinton and his lies, now I am again let down by Pelosi, Rangel, Dodd, and even Obama and his shaved interest rates paid for his jumbo loan. So much for democratic ethics and morals. I'm switching to Republican, the Party of Lincoln.

  • TONY||

    TIME FOR CHANGE.

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