Nassau County refunds about $100M in property tax challenges

April 01, 2019 02:52PM

Nassau County has refunded about $100 million since December to residential and commercial property owners who won tax disputes dating back to 2004, according to Newsday. The funds were paid to lawyers and representatives of the owners between Dec. 21 and March 4.  The largest payout when to Koeppel Martone & Leistman, a Mineola-based law firm, which received $40.76 million. Those funds are poised to be divvied up between more than 500 property owners, the law firm’s managing partner Donald Leistman told the outlet. The next four highest payments went to four other law firms: Herman Katz Cangemi & Clyne in Melville ($18.45 million); Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman in East Meadow ($17.32 million); Schroder & Strom in Mineola ($11.73 million); and Cronin, Cronin, Harris & O’Brien in Uniondale ($11.66 million). Nassau borrowed $100 million in December in an effort to wipe out its $360 million backlog in tax settlements. Commercial properties are to get 80 percent of that loaned money, which must be approved by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority. Most of the payouts came from that borrowed money, but nearly $30 million came out of the county’s operating budget, Newsday reported. Another $20.5 million came out of the Disputed Assessment Fund, which commercial property owners pay into so they can fund tax challenge refunds. The fund still has $184 million in it for claims settled in 2017 and 2018. Newsday noted that Nassau officials plan to borrow another $200 million for refunds this year, but in order to do so the county needs to get approval from its finance authority and local legislature. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran spoke with The Real Deal in February about the county’s property tax plans, which saw New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo make a visit to Long Island last week to pitch a permanent cap on property taxes[Newsday]