Rep. Charlie Rangel is one of the most corrupt Democrats in the party's culture of corruption. I first wrote that he would rank right up there after Rep. Barney Franks and Senator Chris Dodd. After researching the extent of his dishonorable transactions, I almost moved him to first place, but Franks and Dodd deserve "most corrupt" for their bankrupting of the country with the Community Reinvestment Act (ACT) and the housing meltdown. If we looked into the past of all Democrats in Congress today, would we find anything like what you will read about Charlie, who has at least twelve questionable transgressions looming. See 3-3-10 update below.
The first trangression is Rangel's ownership of four rent-controlled apartments in New York, one of which housed his campaign headquarters. New York City regulations prohibit businesses in rent-controlled properties. Rangel had used the apartment for business for over 10 years.
To own rent-controlled properties, Rangel had to keep his income below $175,000 annually. Anything over $175,000 made him "ineligible "as a hardship case." (Nope, it's not a joke!)
From New York Magazine:
The first became known in July 2008, when reports surfaced that Rangel owned four rent-controlled apartments in New York City, and he was running a business out of at least one of them.
On the tenth floor of the Lenox Terrace in Harlem (where [New York Governor] David Paterson also has a rent-stabilized place) the congressman (whose net worth the Times estimates at $566,000 to $1.2 million) keeps a studio apartment for use as an office, for which he pays $660 a month.
Then on the sixteenth floor, he has combined a studio ($630), a one-bedroom ($1,329), and a two-bedroom ($1,329) into rather opulent spread that overlooks Manhattan. [a 2,500 square foot home]
Quoth the Times:
Mr. Rangel’s residence, which has custom moldings and dramatic archways, is decorated with Benin Bronze statues and antique carved walnut Italian chairs, and was featured in the 2003 book “Style and Grace: African Americans at Home,” by Michael Henry Adams (Bulfinch Press)… Mr. Rangel’s wife, Alma, is quoted describing the congressman as “the shopper in this family” who has a penchant for hunting down antiques like cut-glass champagne flutes and walnut chests to furnish their elegant abode.