Council members blocked from joining property tax battle

Corporation council can't defend two sides

TRD New York /
Feb.February 09, 2018 09:30 AM

Mayor Bill de Blasio with his wife, Chirlane McCray, on Election Day, Nov. 7

A New York State Supreme Court judge this week barred several City Council members from joining a lawsuit that accuses the city’s property tax system of disproportionately hurting minority residents.

Five Council members filed a friend of the court brief in support of a lawsuit against the city and state seeking to overhaul the city’s property tax system. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration argued that the group shouldn’t be permitted to join the case, and the judge agreed, the New York Daily News reported.

The judge ruled that the Council members are required under the city charter to be represented by the city’s corporation council — which is defending the de Blasio administration against the lawsuit. Those Council members represent mostly non-white districts.

“If I conclude that a property tax system is discriminating against my constituents, then I have a right to challenge that system,” Council member Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), one of the signers, told the Daily News. “I reject the premise of the decision. I reject the premise that the will of the mayor is synonymous with the best interests of New York City.”

Tax Equity Now — a group that includes the Rent Stabilization Association, prominent landlords and social welfare groups such as the NAACP and the Black Institute — filed the lawsuit last year, alleging that its property-tax system discriminates against low-income homeowners and landlords.

A spokesperson for the city’s Law Department said council members can intervene as private citizens but not as elected officials.

“We are not opposed to the effort by these council members to be heard on this important issue to the extent that they represent their views as individuals and not as city officials representing the legal position of the City of New York,” spokesperson Nick Paolucci said. [NYDN] — Kathryn Brenzel 

Related Articles

The Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in Lower Manhattan (Credit: iStock)

Housing court could get a lot more political under reform plan

WeWork employees speak up to management, NY condo buyers can stay anonymous after all

WeWork employees speak up to management, NY condo buyers can stay anonymous after all

Airbnb lost by a landslide in Jersey City. What went wrong?

Airbnb lost by a landslide in Jersey City. What went wrong?

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (Credit: Twitter, iStock, Airbnb)

Stakes are high as Jersey City residents vote on Airbnb

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

By the numbers: Breaking down national housing agendas from the far left

Nuveen CEO Vijay Advani, Blackstone President & COO Jonathan Gray and one of the Texas properties

Blackstone just sold off a 29M sf national industrial portfolio

Granit Gjonbalaj (Credit: LinkedIn)

The purge continues: WeWork’s head of real estate is leaving

Judith and Rudy Giuliani Rudolph and Judith Giuliani are divorcing after 16 years. (Credit: Getty Images, Trulia, Highrises)

Luxury properties at play in Rudy Giuliani’s ugly divorce