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Renters Forced To Help Gop

A landlord was arrested Monday and accused of forcing would-be renters to contribute to the campaigns of Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

William Koeppel, Republican Party loyalist and a partner in the real estate firm of Koeppel & Koeppel, was arrested on one count of rent gouging, punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

He pleaded innocent and was released on his own recognizance. A hearing was set for May 12.

Koeppel was accused of telling at least three tenants and two real estate brokers between 1989 and 1993 that they had to make political contributions to the Republican politicians to get apartments he controlled.

Koeppel’s real estate firm owns and operates buildings where rent increases are capped by the city.

The three tenants contributed a total of $5,750 at Koeppel’s direction to obtain their Manhattan apartments, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

It is against the law to condition the leasing of a rent-regulated apartment on the payment of any money beyond lawful rent and charges, he said.

No evidence indicates anyone in the Giuliani or D’Amato campaigns were aware of Koeppel’s alleged rent gouging.