Rep. Rangel pays fine for using rent-stabilized Harlem unit as campaign office

Scandal-ridden Rep. Charles Rangel agreed to pay a $23,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission for using a rent-stabilized Central Harlem apartment for a campaign office, according to the New York Times.

Rangel had been renting four rent-stabilized apartments in the Lenox Terrace luxury complex, at 484 Lenox Avenue between West 134th and 135th streets. Three of them were connected units on the 16th floor which he used as residences, and were not part of the commission’s investigation, but a fourth unit, on the 10th floor, was the source of the civil fine.

State and city guidelines require rent-stabilized to be used only as primary residences. The commission also faulted the owners of the building, Fourth Lenox Terrace Associates, for allowing the arrangement to continue, thereby making excessive contributions to the campaign.

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Though similar units in the building were renting for $1,700 per month, Rangel paid just $630 a month for the 10th floor unit he used as an office. Rangel moved his office out of the apartment after the arrangement was made public.

Still, a spokesperson for Rangel said he settled not because he was guilty but because he didn’t want “to go through the arduous process and expense” of proving innocence. [NYT]