U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., never paid a lick of the $7,253 monthly rent on his Harlem district office for all of 2013.
But instead of throwing the deadbeat tenant out on his ear, his landlord — the state of New York — is forgiving past rent owed, to the tune of at least $87,000, requiring taxpayers to foot the bill, according to the New York Post.
Rangel’s staffers offered a “dog ate my homework” kind of excuse — they claimed they lost the lease.
“I finally heard back from Congressman Rangel’s office, and it seems we haven’t gotten the signed lease back because they lost it!” Office of General Services real-estate specialist Sydney Allen wrote in a July 30, 2013, email obtained by the Post.
You’d think congressmen are armed like presidents — with a phone and a pen: a phone to request a new lease and find out what the rent is, and a pen to write out the check.
The Post reported:
The state says it allowed Rangel in March 2013 to enter into a new sweetheart deal in which he could postpone paying six months of rent. That “abatement” money has still not been paid, nor has the other six months of missed rent from 2013, a OGS official said.
The state comptroller approved a $101,000 lease between Rangel and OGS on Dec. 26, 2013, retroactively covering the period back to April 2013 and future months through December 2014, records show. The 21-month deal resulted in a deeply reduced rent of $4,809 a month.
The “lost lease” excuse has since been abandoned in favor of a better one — it’s now the Republicans’ fault.
“As everyone knows, the GOP sequester not only constrained our nation’s economy, but also strained the budget of congressional offices,” Rangel spokeswoman Hannah Kim told the New York newspaper.
This isn’t Rangel’s first foray into questionable ethics.
He also “forgot” to pay taxes on $75,000 in income he received from his rental property in the Dominican Republic in 2008, according to (WHAT SOURCE?). At the time, Rangel was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, charged with writing federal tax policy.
A House ethics subcommittee found Rangel guilty of 11 counts of ethical violations, including failure to pay taxes, improper solicitation of charitable donations and failure to accurately report his personal income. He lost his committee chairman post as a result.
Personally, I just don’t buy the “lost lease” excuse. I don’t buy the “it’s the Republicans’ fault” excuse. And I don’t buy the “I forgot” excuse.” All make him a poor excuse for a public servant. Sorry, Charlie.
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