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Good Ol' Koffi Annan


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As Secretary-General Annan prepares to leave his post at the United Nations, a mystery is surfacing surrounding his apartment on Roosevelt Island, subsidized by New York taxpayers, which is still in use by the family of his brother, Kobina Annan.

The apartment was where Mr. Annan and his wife lived before 1997, when he became secretary-general. The Roosevelt Island home is part of an estate of low-rent state-regulated housing. For years, the Annans saved considerable sums by occupying an apartment meant to help financially strapped low- to moderate-income New York families.

One question Mr. Annan has never addressed is why he and his wife felt comfortable availing themselves of this generous arrangement. Another is how it is that, since Mr. Annan and his wife left that Roosevelt Island apartment 10 years ago to move into the rent-free residence on Sutton Place supplied to the secretary-general, their former low-rent apartment was handed over to be occupied by the family of Mr. Annan's brother.

This kind of apartment, part of a state-regulated housing development program called Mitchell-Lama, is subject to strict eligibility requirements, involving family size and financial ceilings on combined family income. There is also a requirement that the leaseholder make continuous use of the apartment as a primary residence.

Kobina Annan is currently Ghana's ambassador to Morocco, a post he has held for some years. His wife, Ekua Annan, features in the Ghanaian and Moroccan press as active in the Rabat diplomatic community. The pair posed together at a gala reception they hosted at their official Morocco residence in 2004.

No one is saying that any of the Annans have broken the law; the regulations for Mitchell-Lama housing allow a certain amount of flexibility once applicants have obtained a lease. But the issue is pertinent because Kofi Annan, whose wife comes from one of Sweden's wealthier families, has spent years lecturing Americans on how the well-heeled have obligations to those less fortunate. Those low- to moderate-income New York families for whom such accommodation was built face a four-year waiting list.

Link:

http://www.nysun.com/article/45403?page_no=1

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