Owners are getting $100 million in property tax breaks while violating the law requiring them to officially register, and city and state officials are unable to explain why. In addition there was an allegation that in the spring of 2005 there was improper interference by Stark and Ottley-Brown with the property valuation of the Met-Life Building in conjunction with its May, 2005 sale to NYCERS and TRS. In light of the truth concerning the two women, the Manhattan DA’s office should review its non-response to the notice I gave to that office in May, 2006. After March 2005, Finance employees would approach me in public and tell me about Stark and Ottley-Brown and that they were afraid to report them to DOI.
On April 10, 2006 Ottley-Brown signs the infamous Yankee Stadium property valuation letter. In May, 2006, I notified Dan Castleman at the Manhattan DA’s office about Stark, Ottley-Brown and the Met-Life Building deal. I suspect that after the DA’s office got notice all parties involved wanted to make this problem go away. All the rest of the crowd who lied under oath and Stark herself are still working for the city.
The contents of the email contained a copy of an instant message chat between Stark and Subordinate 2. DOI, generally, was not able to access the Finance Department Blackberry instant messages. In January, 2007 Stark arranges for her long time domestic partner, who she was breaking up with, to get an apartment at a reduced rent at an upper east side complex managed by a firm that had received favorable tax traetment from Finance two weeks before. It did so, in all probability, to qualify the Stadium project for tax exemptions.
This is a clear indication of the continuing chaos in the property tax system at Finance, five years after the bribery arrests, this time at the highest level. As of January 9, 2007 in response to negative publicity about the Patricofs, Stark instructs her PR staff to not admit to the press that there was a conflict with the Patricofs’ employment at Finance. In January, 2007 Galia Galansky began working at Finance as director of employee services. As of November 25, 2007 Subordinate 2 is making $81,840/yr and Subordinate 2’s sister starts working at Finance.
While Brodsky’s report doesn’t mention Atlantic Yards, it raises significant questions about the arena deal, notably whether taxpayers are paying for construction and whether the city is willing to manipulate the arena tax assessment to meet requirements for tax-exempt bonds. The machinations by the New York City Department of Finance (NYC DOF), criticized in withering detail in the report, may have been repeated for the Atlantic Yards arena, though no information has surfaced. Therefore, the property would likely remain off the city’s tax roll, resulting in no impact on the city budget.