>>From Maggie’s Notebook: Charlie Rangel’s Culture of Corruption
Posted February 27, 2010on:
I was considering doing a blog on Charlie Rangel but Maggie beat me to it. So here thanks to Maggie Thornton is the low down on one of the biggest thieves in congress who has been re-elected 20 times. This is an example of the people who are elected by a tiny, tiny groups of people but these people who are elected to the House of Representatives have a huge impact on the rest of us. Of course, the House of Representatives is supposed to police itself and weed out the thieves and those who abuse their power but they never do. There should be some action We the People can take that would take out people like this. Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank, Irene Waters and the list goes on and on. Must we wait until they die to get rid of them ( John Murtha)?
Posted: 25 Feb 2010 08:34 PM PST
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.Charlie Rangel
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!)
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.The rent for all four of Rangel’s apartments totaled $3,894 dollars in July 2008. Market price should have been closer to $8,000 a month. The New York Times points out that other New Yorkers are allowed only one apartment, while Rangel has four.
The bottom line of the rent controlled apartments amounted to about $30,000.00 a year owed. The owner of the apartment is Olnick Organization, from which Rangel received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from one of the owners. The U.S.House didn’t even reprimand Rangel. He was let off the hook by a vote of 254 to 138. I can find nothing conclusive that indicates Rangel will have to pay the underpaid rent receipts.The second transgression is Rangel’s beachfront villa he owns in the Dominican Republic at the Punta Cana Yacht Club. He rents it out when he is not in residence for about $500 a night in off-season, $1,100 a night in high season. Charlie didn’t report the $75,000 income he received on the property. Rangel report income of $5,000 in 2004 and 2005, and no income at all in 2006 and 2007. He said he didn’t know the income was taxable! This from the man who writes tax legislation for the Nation.Rangel blamed this transgression on his wife. Said he had no idea he receive income on the property, and said she’s the manager. And then there is the problem of the “language barrier.” The people there were always speaking Spanish, said the Congressman.
So this transgression is apparently over. In September 2008, Rangel paid back taxes of $10,800.00 for at least three years on the Dominican property.The income issue was sensitive for Charlie, because, you know, he had to show his hardship status to keep the New York City apartments.The third trangression: Rangel’s $52,000 mortgage at the Yacht Club was converted to an interest-free loan in 1990 – “violating House rules on gifts.”The fourth transgression: This cheeky guy also claimed a Washington, D.C. home as his primary residence from 1971-2000 and claimed homestead exemption on it. Problem is, that residence did not qualify for the exemption because he also claims homestead on his four rent controlled apartments in New York City.
The fifth transgression: Questions about the value of a Florida property in Sunny Isles.The sixth transgression: On the House Ethics Committee’s radar is Rangel’s fund raising for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York. An attorney and donor is a principal ower of the Punta Cana Yacht Club. This transgression includes the use of congressional stationary to solicit donors.
The seventh transgression: In the Fall of 2008, Rangel promised to amend his tax returns and act like a taxpayer rather than a tax evader. The deadline for doing was May 15, 2009. As of July 2009 amended returns had not been filed.
In the mean time, Rangel will file amended tax returns. While last week his lawyer Lanny Davis said Rangel would only owe city and state back taxes, now Davis says Rangel will also owe federal taxes (characterized as a “modest amount”). However, this is where it gets tricky: Per the NY Times, “Mr. Rangel’s failure to pay all his federal taxes could be politically significant, since he leads the House committee responsible for the federal tax code.”The eighth trangression: Caribbean trips (junckets) in 2007 and 2008 paid for by an unnamed corporation that was lobbying Rangel’s Congressional Committee. Today, February 25th, The House Ethics Committee said they will “admonish” Rangel on Friday, February 26th.
The nineth transgression: An article in the New York Post in September 2008 said Rangel has been using a House of Representatives parking garage for years as free storage space for his old Mercedes-Benz – “a violation of congressional rules and a potential new tax woe….” House rules prohibit the use of garage for storage for longer than 45 days. The car has been sitting there for “years.” The free space is consider “imputed income” and taxes must be paid on the space, at a value of $290 per month. The vehicle also does not have a license plate. Do we think Charlie will be forced to pay up? Nah.
The tenth transgression: In August 2009, Rangel amended his 2007 tax disclosures to show more than $500,000 in unreported income. He still lives in his rent-controlled apartments with hardship status. The New York Times claims he did not report a federal credit union account with a balance of between $250,000 and $500,000, as well as investments and stock – AND they charge the he did not pay property taxes on two New Jersey properties.
The eleventh transgression: Another problem with donations to the City College of New York school named after Rangel. A “tax shelter loophole” allowing tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks. Under Rangel’s Ways and Means Committee, Nabors Industries has been allowed to open an outlet in Bermuda as a foreign corporation. The Nabors CEO, Eugene Isenberg gave the Rangel Center $100,000. Four other companies also benefitted from the loophole.
A bit of levity, Rep. John R. Carter (R-TX) introduced the Rangel Rule Act of 2009 (H.R. 735) stating that all taxpayers would be relieved of pay penalties and interest on back taxes, in honor of Charlie.
The twelfth transgression: Several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, the L.A.Times, the Washington Post and the AP charged that Rangel received campaign contributions for holding up pending legislation that prevent $2.9 billion of U.S. Tax dollars from going to Diageo (wine and spirits corporation) – and dubbed it the Diageo Rum Bailout. The Hill reported that the figure was $3.0 billion in bailouts. Diageo is the world’s largest liquor distiller. Diageo was the recipient of TARP funds.
Charles Rangel, the master of tax legislation, proposed the largest tax increase in American history in 2007…dubbed the “Mother of all tax Bills” by Rangel the tax evader. The bill, had it passed, would have brought a tax increase of $3.5 trillion.
Can anyone explain why this man is not in prison, and at least, why he has not lost his chairmanship? Oh…yes, of course, he’s a Democrat and they never eat their own.