Neil Rubler, then-CEO of the Olnick Group, which oversaw the Lenox Terrace apartment complex where Rangel lives, discusses discounted rentals for Harlem powerbrokers in a Dec. 2, 2005, e-mail to Olnick President Bruce Simon, according to documents made public by the House ethics committee.It shouldn't be surprising that so many politicians benefited from the favors and preferential treatment. It's currying favors and dispensing favorable treatment that lets politicians advance up the political ladder.
Aside from Rangel, Lenox Terrace tenants include Gov. Paterson, his dad, Basil, state NAACP President Hazel Dukes, and the son and daughter of the late Harlem political and business leader Percy Sutton.
"Bruce, Lenox has long benefited from, and has supported, the tenancy of local political leaders. Charlie Rangel, Percy Sutton, the Patersons . . . and others have various 'friends and family' incentives," Rubler said.
"We don't get a direct benefit from these arrangements -- no kickback has occurred. Instead, the benefit is intangible but meaningful as it raises the prominence of Lenox in the community."
Rubler has since left the firm. Simon declined requests for comment.
A Feb. 10, 2005, memo from Lenox General Manager Darryl Rankin to Rubler includes a list of 15 VIP tenants who should get tender loving care -- including the congressman, Paterson and two Rangel congressional staffers, James Capel and Melvin Norris, among others. Rankin put the list together at Rubler's request.
In a subsequent e-mail to employees, Rankin said any problems regarding the VIP tenants "should be flagged immediately," and ordered that "no legal or collection actions are initiated against any of these apartments without notifying me first in advance."
A House panel found Rangel guilty of violating the ethics code by his misuse of a rent-stabilized apartment on the 10th floor at Lenox as a campaign office, calling the sweetheart deal an improper "favor."
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Harlem Landlord Provided Rangel and Other VIPs Preferential Treatment
Consider this the Friends of Rubler program. Rep. Charles Rangel, the disgraceful Democratic Congressman from Harlem who was found guilty on 12 of 13 ethics violations earlier this week was able to gain preferential treatment on his rents (which were already questionable under the rent stabilization rules that prohibited the use of the apartments for office space) and other important Harlem individuals benefited from perks that the common folk would have been able to obtain in an effort to boost the profile of the apartment complex.