By Jordan Heller
MANHATTAN — In a gubernatorial debate where Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino played nice, an eccentric and little-known candidate with silver muttonchops and black gloves provided the fireworks with a single and oft-repeated refrain: "The rent is too damn high!"
But according to several news reports, Jimmy McMillan, the candidate from the Rent Is Too Damn High party, has been enjoying paying little to no rent for nearly 30 years.
According to the New York Post and Wall Street Journal, McMillan said he pays $800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with a backyard in Flatbush, Brooklyn — well below market value. While the New York Times put his monthly rent at zero.
"We're like family," Mr. McMillan said of his landlords, according to the Times. "They don't want me to pay any money at all. I am basically living there rent free."
McMillan said that soon after moving into his apartment on Nostrand Avenue he left his Postal Service job on disability, the paper reported. The landlady admired his Vietnam War service and so let him stay in the apartment rent free, the candidate said.
But McMillan's building manager told the Post that the colorful candidate pays rent and pays it on time.
What the papers do seem to agree on is that McMillan pays the rent for his son's apartment on St. Marks Place in the East Village.
When seeking comment from the candidate himself, DNAinfo could only get through to voicemail. The greeting?
"This is Jimmy McMillan. Rent is too damn high."