Every day there is a new revelation about Congressman Charlie Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rangel’s committee is in charge of making tax laws, and Rangel’s scandal de jour usually involves underestimating his net worth or income in some way.
Charlie’s problems usually don’t involve misinterpreting the tax law, his problem is that he tends to hide income. At least he understands the laws he helps to write.
Today’s scandal is called Where is Charlie’s Primary residence? Last year Charlie was found taking a tax break for people whose primary residence was in Washington DC, but if that was the case he couldn’t be a congressman representing NYC. And besides, he was occupying four rent controlled controlled apartments in New York, the rule is you don’t qualify for rent control unless the apartment is your primary residence. That is why he got in trouble for using one of the apartments as his office.
Charlie has one more primary residence. That town house worth one million dollars discovered yesterday, the one he forgot about on his financial disclosure form was listed on his mortgage agreement as his primary residence. But wait, that would mean he was ripping off the City and his landlord by claiming those rent controlled apartments as his primary residence:
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By CHARLES HURT DC Bureau Chief
August 29, 2009 —
Rep. Charles Rangel claimed on mortgage papers that a Harlem brownstone was his principal residence — even though he was living elsewhere at the time, The Post has learned.
When the Democrat — who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee — took out the mortgage in 1990, he said the property on West 132nd Street was his “principal residence,” records show.
But Rangel has been living since the 1970s in Harlem’s Lenox Terrace apartment complex, where he improperly amassed four rent-stabilized properties.
State law requires that rent-regulated apartments be the tenant’s residence.
“I will reside in the Property (on 132nd Street) for at least six (6) months of every calendar year,” read Rangel’s mortgage contract with Citibank, which is on file with the city.
The terms of the $60,000 loan appear to be normal for that time, but lenders say claiming principal residency when you live elsewhere is a serious breach.
“It’s fraud or a mistake,” said David Reed, an author of several popular books about mortgage lending.
“Owner-occupied dwellings — where you hang your hat — always get better interest rates and lower down payments than rental properties or second homes,” Reed added.
“That’s because if a borrower goes south, you’re likely to dump your vacation home or your investment property first.”
Citing privacy concerns, a Citigroup spokesman declined to comment on the mortgage, Rangel’s principal-residency claim, or whether any favorable treatment had been granted to the longtime congressman.
Last November, Rangel and five other members of Congress took a junket to the Caribbean with $100,000 from Citigroup — just weeks after Congress bailed out banks with $700 billion in taxpayer funds.
Rangel sold the brownstone at 74 W. 132nd St. to Bethel AME Church in 2004, although several of his relatives continue to live there.
Newly filed financial-disclosure reports show Rangel has understated his annual earnings, his assets and his business dealings by millions of dollars since 2002, The Post has reported.
This is not the first time Rangel has gotten into trouble claiming property as his primary residence. Last year, The Post reported that Rangel had been claiming a “homestead” tax break in Washington, DC, while claiming primary residency in New York.
Meanwhile, Rangel again refused to answer any questions yesterday.
“My only concern is just to see how is the press going to handle the mistakes that clearly they’ve made after the investigations have been completed and the Ethics Committee has worked its will,” he said.
Now I understand why Charlie Rangel is such a high ranking Democrat, the guy’s creativity is astounding. But Charlie doesn’t use the same creativity at Ways and Means. His committee keeps coming up with the same answers, Tax everyone except Charlie–Tax everyone except Charlie….