Rangel’s Papers in Disarray

Posted September 12, 2008 at 6:21pm

In June 2007, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) reported that he had sold a condominium in Sunny Isles, Fla., for between $250,001 and $500,000.

In December, he filed an amendment reporting the transaction again, this time with no value.

In May, Rangel reported the sale again, this time listing the sale price at $100,001 to $250,000. Rangel has never reported any income from the sale, as House rules would require if he made a profit.

The inconsistent reports are among myriad errors, discrepancies and unexplained entries on Rangel’s personal disclosure forms over the past eight years that make it almost impossible to get a clear picture of the Ways and Means chairman’s financial dealings over time.

The Sunny Isles condo first appeared on Rangel’s disclosure form for calendar year 2004, and was filed in June 2005. The form stated that Rangel bought the condo for between $100,001 and $250,000 in March 2004.

Two years later, Rangel reported the sale of the condo, but he did not report any income from the sale. Since he had previously rented the condo, House rules would have required him to report income from the sale, if he made any money off the transaction.

As first reported by former Congressional staffer Michael Stern on his blog “Point of Order,” Rangel initially reported the sale taking place July 21, 2007 — a month after the form was signed and submitted to the Clerk of the House. The amendment filed in December corrected the sale date to 2006 but left the value blank.

Rangel’s office referred questions about his disclosures to his attorney, Lanny Davis, who could not be reached for comment.

In the wake of revelations about his failure to report income from a villa in the Dominican Republic and questions about apartments that he rents in New York City, Rangel has asked the House ethics committee to investigate his reporting on those matters.

In a Sept. 9 letter to Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), acting chairman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, the Ways and Means chairman asked the committee to review his disclosure forms and promised “I will update and amend my House financial disclosure forms through all the years of my service in the House.”

Rangel’s letter specifically focused on problems related to the Dominican villa and the New York apartments, but a Roll Call review of Rangel’s financial disclosures revealed that the Congressman filed many other apparently erroneous reports.

In May 2001 Rangel reported that his assets in 2000 consisted of the Dominican villa, an apartment on 132nd Street in New York and an insurance policy worth $15,001 to $50,000. These are the same assets and the same values he had reported from 1996 to 1999.

But in 2002, Rangel listed an array of new assets, including a Merrill Lynch account worth $100,001 to $250,000, Pepsi stock worth $1,001 to $15,000, and $15,001 to $50,000 in Essex National Securities.

Rangel listed no transactions indicating how or when he came to own these assets, as House rules require. The forms offer no explanation for how his nonproperty assets increased from less than $50,001 in 2000 to somewhere between $177,000 and $530,000 a year later.

The next year, Rangel’s form listed five new assets worth a total of at least $268,000, including “cash/money accounts” worth $250,001 to $500,000, but reported no transactions in which these assets were acquired. His total nonproperty assets for that year had risen to a range from $345,000 to $875,000.

From 2003 to 2007, Rangel’s investment portfolio shifted regularly, the value fluctuated wildly and he never reported any proceeds from the sales of stock, as required under House rules.

In 2006, the total value of the nonproperty assets Rangel reported was no more than $386,000. That year Rangel sold $110,000 to $300,000 worth of stock, but reported no proceeds.

In 2002, the value Rangel reported for his property on West 132nd Street jumped from less than $100,000 to between $250,000 and $500,000.

In March 2004, Rangel sold the West 132nd Street rental property for $250,000 to $500,000, according to the disclosure report he filed the next year. But he never reported any income from the sale, as House reporting rules require.