Thursday, July 17, 2008
Rep. Charlie Rangel, who represents Harlem's 19th Congressional District, sure knows how to wrangle himself a whopper of a real estate deal. He's managed to acquire four rent-stabilized apartments in his district's Lenox Terrace development at rents roughly 50% below market, and without enduring the same aggressive scrutiny from landlord Olnick Organization that has seen the poor, the elderly, the sick and the blind evicted over much less. But of course, Rep. Wrangle has angrily asserted he's done nothing wrong nor is he aware of getting any special treatment. C'mon Charlie, you're one of the sharpest tools in the shed. Do you really expect us to believe you had no idea that you were getting a preferential deal? If he didn't do anything wrong, why has he decided to give up his fourth rental unit, the one he currently uses as an office?
What is it about politicians that gives them special skills for blatant, outrageous lies? Why is it that they think they can portray themselves as ignorant and unaware of even the most obvious situations from which they benefit? Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) "didn't realize" his Countrywide mortgage rate was less than everyone else's. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "didn't think" there was anything fishy about Chicago real estate developer Tony Rezko buying the land next door to the Obamas and selling it to them for a below-market price. And of course, Bill Clinton "didn't think" a blowjob constituted having sex.
It's unconscionable that Rep. Wrangle would greedily amass his not-so-little 50% discounted rent-stabilized fiefdom when his own constituents are being put on the street for failing to meet much less stringent income and/or residency requirements. Judging from Thursday's NY Times front-page article about the Congressman's shady deal, his neighbors clearly agree.
Unfortunately for Rep. Wrangle, this story has legs. Given the attention it's been getting on a national scale, the double-talking Congressman will likely lose his third apartment (the first two had been connected years prior), be hit with huge rent increases, and/or lose an appreciable amount of votes.