I guess New York City laws are for the little people.
Rep. Eliot Engel and a business partner have repeatedly ignored city efforts to shut down an illegal apartment at a Bronx building they own, the Daily News has learned.How generous. And it just so happened that Engel happened to be having drinks with this guy and got a nice 24% stake in an apartment building. One wonders how much Engel is profiting off this illegal property. He hasn't been in any hurry to disclose that information.
One city agency cited the owners of 1142 Metcalf Ave. in early 2009, and since then inspectors repeatedly tried to investigate complaints that the illegal unit never went away.
Again and again, Engel and his business partner ignored them, and the initial violation remains open, records show.
Six times since 2009, Buildings Department inspectors door-knocked the six-unit building owned by Engel, (D-Bronx/Westchester), and his partner, local businessman Harry Bajraktari.
Each time they couldn't get in, so each time they left notices instructing the owners to contact the agency to arrange an appointment - six notices in all since 2009. The latest visit took place last month.
Each time, city officials say, the owners ignored the request.
Engel's involvement with the Metcalf Ave. apartments began in mid-2008 when Bajraktari, his friend and benefactor, suggested over drinks that Engel become a 24% partner in a six-unit building he was thinking of buying.
Bajraktari, who manages more than two dozen properties in the city, says he's been friends with Engel for more than 20 years. Since 2005, Bajraktari, one of his other partners, and their families have contributed $72,200 to Engel's campaigns.
Though they bought into the property in December 2008, Engel did not reveal his ownership on either his 2008 or 2009 disclosure statements to Congress.Um, so if he hasn't made any money, why amend earlier filings?
He revealed the arrangement for the first time in May on his 2010 statement, then amended the earlier filings last week, after The News asked about it.
He claimed he "neglected to list" the property earlier because he'd made no money off it. The forms require Congress members to report any business interests.