Rangel skipped district office rent in 2013: report

Spokesperson for congressman lays blame on GOP sequestration

Charles Rangel and 163 West 125th Street
Charles Rangel and 163 West 125th Street

New York City Congressman Charles Rangel skipped rental payments on the district office he rents in Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building for all of 2013, according to records obtained by the New York Post.

The longtime legislator and national figure paid $7,253 in monthly rent on the office at 163 West 25th Street, which has housed the Congressman’s district office since 2000, according to 2012 expense reports cited by the Post. But the payments halted in 2013, and the state responded by allowing an “abatement” that permitted the postponement of six months of rent, the paper indicated.

As of Sunday, the abatement had not been repaid, nor had the additional six months from 2013, the State Office of General Services told the paper.

The state comptroller approved a retroactive $101,000 lease between Rangel and OGS on Dec. 26, 2013 that covered April 2013 through Dec. 2014, according to records cited by the post. That deal brought the Congressman’s monthly rental payments down to $4,809 monthly.

According to OGS correspondence, the Congressman skipped the 2013 rental payments because his staffers lost the lease. But Rangel’s office blamed federal sequestration for the lapsed rent.

“As everyone knows, the GOP sequester not only constrained our nation’s economy, but also strained the budget of congressional offices,” a Rangel spokesperson told the Post.

The Congressman previously ran into real estate troubles after renting four rent-stabilized apartments in the Lenox Terrace luxury complex at 484 Lenox Avenue for a campaign office. As a result, he agreed to pay a $23,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission in March 2012. [NYP]Julie Strickland