New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel opened a campaign office Saturday in the same upper Manhattan office his campaign manager was forced to leave, Capital New York reports.
Rangel’s campaign manager, Moises Perez, previously ran a charity in the office before he was forced to resign amid allegations that taxpayer money given to him from the Rangel-sponsored Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone was misspent.
The longtime congressman doled out $2.6 million in taxpayer money to the community-based non-profit Alianza Dominicana in June 2010, according to the New York Post. Alianza Dominicana’s mission is to strengthen community and affirm the value of family through various services, such as substance abuse prevention.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told Perez that he had to resign his position with the charity in March 2011 in order for the organization to be able to transfer assets needed to move to another building 14 blocks away.
Perez told Capital New York the office was vacant and ideally located.
Rangel’s new office is located in Washington Heights on the second floor of a four-story building at 2410 Amsterdam Avenue, just west of the Bronx. Rangel’s district is the smallest geographically in the country and includes upper Manhattan, a small area of the Bronx and Riker’s Island — an island on the East River and New York City’s main jail complex.
Rangel’s campaign spokeswoman Ronnie Sykes told Capital New York, “The space was available, it’s been available for several months. It’s a great space and a good location.”
The office on Saturday still had remnants of the charity, including empty cubicles, an insurance eligibility spreadsheet on one desk and tips for job-seekers on the wall, according to Capital New York.
Rangel has been the subject of several ethics investigations during his 42-year career in Congress.
In 2010 the Harlem Democrat was censured by the House for, among other things, using below-market-rent apartments as offices. He also violated a House gift ban by accepting corporate-sponsored desserts, failed to disclose more than $500,000 in assets and did not pay taxes on rental income from a villa in the Dominican Republic.