Friday, July 11, 2008

How to buy a congressman

Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has four rent-controlled New York City apartments provided by the Olnick Organization. The New York Times reports that in the current NYC battle over aggressive evictions of tenants from rent-controlled apartments, Rep. Rangel has sided with the tenants except when Olnick was involved:
The Olnick Organization and other real estate firms have been accused of overzealous tactics as they move to evict tenants from their rent-stabilized apartments and convert the units into market-rate housing.

Tensions are especially inflamed in Harlem, where the rising cost of living and the arrival of more moneyed residents have triggered anxiety over the future of the historically black neighborhood. And Vantage Properties, a company established by Olnick’s former chief operating officer, has attracted billions in private equity financing by promising investors that it can aggressively convert tens of thousands of rent-stabilized apartments, many in Harlem.

Yet Mr. Rangel, a critic of other landlords’ callousness, has been uncharacteristically reticent about Olnick’s actions.
Rangel's rent-controlled rent is $3,894 per month for his four apartments and the NY Times estimates that the uncontrolled rent would be $7,465 to $8,125 per month. That's a savings, in round numbers, of $4,000 per month or $48,000 per year. Should that be enough to assure a congressman's silence?

Hat tip: JamieWearingFool and Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY in this series: "How to buy a judge"

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