2008_07_rang1.jpgRepresentative Charles Rangel gave a press conference defending his four rent-stabilized apartment at Lenox Terrace. The NY Times had reported on Rangel's unusual rent-stabilized "riches" in an article today (which was online last night), and the paper has three reporters on the scene at the press conference. The Observer observer this exchange between the 78-year-old Congressman and a Times reporter:

"Paying the legal rent is not a gift. Are you doing this deliberately or are you just stupid? Listen -- if you are paying a legal rent and without the law the rent would be higher, just what school did you go to that could misinterpret that as a gift?”

When the reporter tried to push Rangel, asking if he declared the rent on his income taxes, Rangel said to the reporter, Jeremy Peters, “Don’t make yourself look more dumb than you want. They didn’t give me anything, I’m paying the highest legal rent that I can. So what questions are you making? Is it a gift? No.”

Rangel went on to say that he had no idea people were evicted from their rent-stabilized apartments in order for market-rate conversions.