Congressman Charlie Rangel is in a bit of hot water following a report indicating he failed to pay the state a minimum of $87,000 in rent on his district office in Harlem. Not to worry however, Rangel has a valid excuse – Republicans made him do it.
First, via the New York Post:
New York City’s longest-serving congressman won’t pay his rent.
State taxpayers were stiffed out of at least $87,000 when Rep. Charles Rangel stopped paying for the district office he rents in Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, records obtained by The Post show.
Staffers for the Congressman initially claimed it was simply a case of losing the lease.
Rangel was given a “sweetheart” deal from the state last March, allowing him to postpone paying rent for six months. In July, an e-mail from the Office of General Services (OGS) indicated that they hadn’t received the signed lease because the Congressman’s office lost it. By the end of 2013, Rangel had failed to pay a dime of rent for his Harlem office. Instead of demanding payment however, the state cut him another deal, reducing his monthly rent by nearly $2,500/month. The deal was made retroactive back to April.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin posted to his Facebook page:
Congressman Rangel has a real problem paying for things like taxes on his Dominican condo rental income and his latest is not paying rent for his Congressional office in a state owned office building. First the excuse was “we lost the lease”….which is akin to “the dog ate my homework.”
Inexplicably, the Comptroller approved a lease on 12/26/13 that retroactively covered from April of 2013 to December of 2014 that deeply reduced the rent from $7,253 to $4,809 a month. In March of 2013 they allowed him to postpone rent for six months….and he still hasn’t paid that.
Why would the state allow this? Why would New York not demand that the lease be paid or sue Rangel? Why are the taxpayers out $87,000 because of Rangel?
There’s ‘pay to play’ in NY. Rangel has it even better than most: ‘no pay still play.’
Bottom line: Rangel didn’t pay for rent, and state taxpayers were stiffed out of $87,000 by him.
As far as excuses go, Rangel is never one to shy away from blaming Republicans for just about every corrupt move he makes. This time was no different, as he cited the “GOP sequester” for the reason he failed to pay his rent.
Via the Observer:
Mr. Rangel meanwhile blamed the lapse on sequestration. “As everyone knows, the GOP sequester not only constrained our nation’s economy, but also strained the budget of congressional offices,” responded his spokeswoman, Hannah Kim.
Unfortunately for Mr. Rangel, facts remain stubborn things. The sequestration began in March of 2013, two months after the Congressman stopped paying rent.