Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Rohrabacher Comes Clean About Messy Housing Dispute

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is not only confident he will be vindicated in an ongoing legal tussle — a rather nasty affair in which a former landlord claims that the California Republican and his family caused tens of thousands of dollars in property damage — he’s fairly certain he brought it on himself by serving in the public eye.

“If I wasn’t a member of Congress, no one would pay attention to this at all,” he said of the dirty laundry being aired by Robert Polyniak regarding a home he rented to the Rohrabachers a few years back.

“We enjoyed our stay there. But we did not trash the house,” Rohrabacher assured HOH.

As chronicled by the OC Weekly, the spat erupted after Polyniak retook possession of a rental property and  discovered the reportedly disturbing conditions within (“Walls inexplicably contained odd holes, nail polish, wax and some smelly substance that may have been feces.”) and elected to withhold the $6,700 security deposit originally plunked down by the 13-term lawmaker.

Since then, both sides have taken legal action against each another.

“I think the landlord felt that I would not sue him in court because I might get a bad news story out of it,” Rohrabacher said of his decision to battle on. “[But] I am not a wealthy person. A $7,000 deposit means a lot to my family.”

A review of Rohrabacher’s latest financial disclosure forms, which estimates the lawmaker is in the hole to the tune of around $400,000, seems to corroborate his back-of-the-envelope assessment.

Growing Pains

Per Rohrabacher, after several years of conflict-free relations, Polyniak spontaneously ordered him out.

“The landlord gave us 30 days to vacate the house,” he said.

Initially, Polyniak wanted the family gone by July 3, 2012. Rohrabacher said he asked for 60 days so that he could take care of everything during Congress’ regularly scheduled August recess. When Polyniak shot down that plan, Rohrabacher said his wife, Rhonda, called in the cavalry to pack them all up.

“My wife did a heroic job in mustering all of our friends and family to help us move out of there,” Rohrabacher told HOH about the expansive evacuation effort.

When asked about the condition of things on move-in day, Rohrabacher acknowledged that when they first arrived the house had been covered in “sheep white rugs.”

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo )


He admits the carpeting got a workout from his triplets, Christian, Annika and Tristen, but maintains that soiled floors are par for the course when dealing with youngsters.

“There was nothing in that house that was not normal wear and tear,” Rohrabacher said.

He did not directly address any of the other issues (rusted appliances, severed phone cords, broken toilet seats) Polyniak shared with the OC Weekly, stating only that Rhonda’s mother, Joanne Carmony, a realtor, was integrally involved in the top-to-bottom inspection process.

“She spent days cleaning that house so we would get our deposit back. And she was comfortable with it when we left,” he stated.

Additionally, Rohrabacher said Petros Berhane, a surfing buddy who also works in the real estate trade, snapped tons of photos that seem to tell a different story about how the home looked when the family last turned the locks.

“We took extensive pictures. And many of them seem to contradict the same spots that the OC Weekly showed,” he asserted. Rohrabacher said he plans to produce Berhane’s photos at the legal conference scheduled for April 2014.

Neither Polyniak nor Berhane responded to voice messages seeking comment about the housing feud.

If there is a silver lining to all this sordid business, it may be that Polyniak ultimately helped the Rohrabachers re-evaluate their living situation.

The congressman said that following the eviction, the entire family spent the following six months sleeping on Carmony’s floor. That motivated Rohrabacher to unload the townhouse he had purchased in D.C. nearly a decade ago, and then put that money toward the place they recently bought in Costa Mesa.

“It is not a million-dollar home,” Rohrabacher quipped of the homestead he said he snatched up for approximately $950,000. But given that he’s since joined the crash-on-your-office-couch caucus, it’s gotta beat waiting for everyone to clear out of Rayburn each night just to catch a few uninterrupted zzzs.

No Love Lost

Rohrabacher explained that he is well aware that the OC Weekly is not a fan.

“This is yet another example of where the OC Weekly has written another story that is totally wrong … whatever their motives are,” he charged.

The veteran pol suggested that the local paper has consistently published “bad” and “untrue” reports about him, including a scathing blog post piggybacking on another blog post speculating about his state of mind during a TV hit.

Rohrabacher assured HOH that while he’s no teetotaler, he hadn’t had “a single drop to drink” on the morning in question.

He said the OC Weekly hadn’t bothered to ask about that, and also neglected to ask him about the rental house.

“They didn’t talk to me on this story,” he stated.

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  • R. Scott Moxley

    The DC author of this hilarious Rohrabacher press release didn’t bother to contact me before he lazily decided to smear my report. Two points for snoozing DC reporters. First, I did repeatedly contact Rohrabacher officials prior to the publication of my article, a fact excluded from Rojas’ gossip sugary column. Perhaps he and fellow Washington DC reporters are accustomed to writing empty bunk for the representatives they cover. Out here in the real world of journalism, many of us don’t sellout so quickly. In conclusion, Dana Rohrabacher couldn’t find the truth if it landed on his face while he tipped back one of his potent, daily margaritas.

    • Ed

      I’d side with Rohrabacher on this one, though both Rohrabacher and you ultimately are despicable. Rohrabacher at least was man enough to go on John & Ken to defend himself. Even your pal Arellano has had the (marble-sized) cajones to go on their show, and we all know how much he hates them.

  • migrannismexi

    Mucksley, once again your feeding off the bottom and on the attack against Dana. The Rohrabachers have young children and carpets get stained, and landlords hate to give back deposits, your making more out of this than is there. Their landlord wanted them out right before the last Congressional election out of the blue, and for me a friend of Dana’s who lived through this it looked like the landlord has something against the Rohrabacher’s and his re-election. I know by the extent you try to vilify Dana in your pro-prostitution, marijuana and homosexual rag the “The OC weakling, or weaklink” that you abhor him.

    I think your just jealous and hide behind your false ID, and furthermore, Dana surfs way better than you ever will, which for some reason is apparent to me, but not to the majority of Americans that don’t surf makes you really feel psychologically, intellectually, and physically inferior.

    Keep trying and keep hiding on the bottom!

    • KevinFitzz

      wow…”And Dana surfs way better that YOU”, jeebus, man, what is wrong with you? How about we let Judge Judy handle this rental mess. Me? I’d like to see more pictures. And on TV, too. And what is a man his age doing having small children? He should have been sterilized at birth.

    • KevinFitzz

      Oh, and now I see what you have done. You’ve taken Mr. Moxley’s name and changed it to Mr. “Mucksley”. How charming. When is your thirteenth birthday again? “Surfer boy”?

  • migrannismexi

    Hey Kevin your not funny, and the comment: ” He should have been sterilized at birth,” goes really beyond any level of propriety or decency. I am proud to call Dana my friend, and if any of these attackers knew the man, like I do, they would be amazed at how cool he really is. I admire the man and his ethics, and as a father of three I understand that carpets get dirty, but those photos are doctored and the accusations that his landlord made are false, and this will be proved in court by the video evidence that another one of our friends was keen enough to take when the Rohrabacher’s left the property. The whole thing smells of fraud by the landlord, and his girlfriend, and furthermore Moxley has an agenda against Dana and will always attack him probably because he lacks substance and character, which Dana exudes.

    Moxley you fancy yourself a journalist, but your not, you write for a rag that gets all of its support from ads eschewing the benefits of medical marijuana, and the solicitation of call girls and boys. All you will ever will be is now, and your future is bleak, and the AIDS virus that infects so many of your partners backsides makes me ill just to write about.

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