Thursday, January 24, 2008

Assembly Member Kellner Confirms ESDC FMV Real Estate Tax Bills Rescinded

In a press release issued today Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner (65th AD) confirms that ESDC Chairman Patrick Foye has rescinded the FMV real estate tax equivalency bills issued to Island House, Rivercross and Westview.

ESDC's decision puts a greater burden now on the Rivercross Privatization Committee as that buildings anti-privatization tenants will claim that the state no longer has a loaded gun to their heads and other avenues might be worthy of exploration regarding securing financing for capital projects and other issues. Pro-privatization tenants will still argue that the building has a right to leave the Mitchell-Lama program and that they expect that their plan is worthy of exploration which is all the upcoming vote is really for next week. But even such exploration has a price and it is expected to cost a few hundred thousand dollars to go through such a process.

A few excerpts of the Assembly Member's press release are as follows:

"ESDC has decided to rescind the tax bills sent last September to Westview, Island House, and Rivercross and to continue to allow the buildings to receive their tax exemptions as long as they remain in the Mitchell-Lama program. I’m glad to see, after six months of playing keystones cops, that the administration has finally come to its senses and rescinded this unfair tax bill."

“I could never understand how the administration could argue that threatening to raise taxes was an appropriate tactic to bullying struggling tenants and shareholders into remaining in the Mitchell-Lama program. This was a dangerous game of chicken that could have gone horribly wrong, costing thousands of families their homes."

“Let’s not kid ourselves, this issue is far from settled and the devil is always in the details. As we go forward I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the ground lease amendments are negotiated in such a way such that retroactive, unfair taxes are never again a possibility that looms over the heads of Islanders.”

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