Media Blog

NY Times Sugar Coats Charlie Rangel’s Latest Tax Mess

Here’s their headline putting-this-in-the-best-possible-light for Rep. Rangel:

Rangel Failed to Report $75,000 in Income

No, no, no.  What Rep. Rangel did is make an investment in a condo in the Dominican Republic.  Rental income from that property stayed in the Dominican Republic and was never reported on his U.S. tax forms.  If this had been a Repbulican, the charge would not be, “failed to report,” but “hid income in an offshore tax haven.”
The Times needs to do some more digging as it’s starting to sound like Rep. Rangel was given this condo and was never at any risk for the mortgage.  An excerpt:

The money was never sent to the Rangels directly, according to Mr. Davis and resort records, but was used to defray the mortgage the company gave them when they bought the villa and $23,000 in subsequent construction costs in 2003.
The confusion was magnified, Mr. Davis said, by the fact that the statements from the resort were sent only intermittently. The congressman declined to be interviewed, but issued a brief written statement.

Congress needs to investigate, as well.  If Rangel never made regular mortgage payments, then what, exactly, was the risk?  Was Rangel required to put up any equity at all?  A bigger issue:

Mr. Rangel bought it for $82,750 20 years ago, according to documents from the resort. He was urged to buy the property by Theodore Kheel, a New York labor lawyer who was one of the principal investors in a plan to turn the southeast Dominican coast from a mostly deserted jungle into a tourist destination.
In 1984, Mr. Kheel and several partners opened a private airport in Punta Cana and by 1987 were soliciting buyers for properties at the resorts they were building nearby.

What the NY Times needs to do now is find all the potential conflicts of interest between labor lawyer Kheel and Charles Rangel.  They can start by searching their archives, and I’ll even give them a head start by providing them with the first example of a potential conflict.  November 14, 1990:

The leaders of striking Daily News unions said yesterday that they would ask the New York State Attorney General to look into a series of actions by the newspaper that they claim may be violations of state law.

And who is advising the union?

The unions’ principal adviser, Theodore W. Kheel, said that he intended to meet with Mr. Abrams later in the week, and would cite possible violations in connection with what he said was violence against strikers by the News’s out-of-state security guards. Out-of-State Guards Scrutinized

And Rangel’s role?

The breakfast yesterday, at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, featured strong expressions of support for the unions by many of the 31 elected officials or their spokesmen who attended. They included three Congressmen — Charles B. Rangel of Manhattan; Ted Weiss of Manattan, and Jose E. Serrano of the Bronx; four state senators, 17 assemblymen, and six City Councilmen, including the City Council President, Andrew J. Stein.

Start digging.

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