9:09am

Fri August 5, 2011
The Two-Way

'Rent Is Too Damn High' Candidate Faces Eviction

The man who ran for New York governor with the simple message of "the rent is too damn high," is facing eviction from his rent-controlled apartment, because, he says, his "rent is too damn low."

The New York Post caught up with the politician who captured the nation's attention after he made a funny, yet surprisingly earnest appearance at a gubernatorial debate:

Jimmy McMillan says he pays $872.96 for a rent-controlled ground-floor apartment on St. Marks Place in the East Village — which he's had since the late-1970s, when the rent was around $275.

But the man who founded the tenants-rights party says his landlords are giving him the boot so they can pull in way more dough.

"I've been here since 1977, and they want more money!" McMillan says. "It's about 'My Rent is Too Damn Low.' "

The AP reports that according to court papers, the building owner wants to kick him out because "McMillan violated his lease because the apartment is not his primary residence as required by rent-controlled rules. It says he lives in Brooklyn."

It's also what McMillan told The New York Times in October — that he lived in a Brooklyn rent-free. He said that back in the early '80s his landlord agreed to let him live in the one-bedroom apartment in exchange for some maintenance work.

But McMillan tells the Post that the Brooklyn apartment is used as the office for the Rent Is Too Damn High Party and that his real residence is the rent-controlled place in the East Village.

"That's my apartment. It is my residence. My name is on the lease," he told the Post.

And, to his credit, he did renege on his rent-free statement to the Times by the end of the same piece by saying, "Don't look for anything I say about my living space to be true."

So which is it? Eventually, a Housing Court will decide. But New York Magazine has a suggestion:

So ... what's the answer here? We'll tell you the answer: McMillan is everywhere, and he is nowhere. He is the wind.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.