Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel has announced that he will vacate the rent controlled apartment he has been using as a campaign office. This apartment is just one of four rent controlled apartments he is hoarding in the Lenox Terrace apartment building in Harlem.
NY Times – Rangel to Relinquish Apartment Used as Office:
Representative Charles B. Rangel has decided to move his campaign office out of one of four rent-stabilized apartments he leases in Harlem, his spokesman said on Monday.
One of the units — a one-bedroom apartment that he paid for with money from his re-election fund and from a political action committee — had been used as a campaign office, despite city and state guidelines that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used solely as a primary residence. Because that apartment is rent-stabilized, Mr. Rangel paid $630 per month, while similar market-rate units in the building rent for $1,700 a month and higher.
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. .
But Mr. Rangel said that it was ludicrous to consider the rent-stabilized apartments a gift because he paid rent for them. He also said that two of the units were combined by a previous tenant.
Rangel should either resign or return every penny he saved by hoarding this apartment while using it as a campaign office. For this apartment alone, that should be $1,000 per month for as long as he has used it as a campaign office.
Reason – Rangel’s Down, But He’s Not Out
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