Friday, March 10, 2017
When a town sues over taxes
And the property owner is currently the President and has obviously lied about the value of his property what is a little town to do? Ossining, NY, home of The Trump National Golf Club in Westchester Countyfinds itself in the position of negotiating with a piece of shit who would not hesitate to use the full majesty of the United States to further his private interests.
The business is worth more than $50 million and yielded more than $10 million from 2015 to early 2016, according to the financial disclosure form Trump filed last May. But seven months earlier, an attorney for Trump filed a lawsuit against the town of Ossining, New York, seeking lower taxes, claiming the course was worth only $1.4 million.Suing over tax assessments is a common Trump stunt and hopefully as long as the municipal entities involved keep it in the public eye, they should be able to play hardball with Precedent Beetlefart. After all, what will he do, take his golf course to a different town?
The lawsuit, which remains pending, has left at least one local official worried that taking a tough negotiating stance against a business owned by the world's most powerful political figure puts her town of 25,000 residents at risk of retribution.
"Are we, the puny town of Ossining, going to choose to go up against the president's company?" said Dana Levenberg, the town supervisor. "I wouldn't want to do anything that has negative repercussions for the town of Ossining."
Ethics experts said disagreements between Trump businesses and local governments create unavoidable conflicts of interest, since the federal government is a key source of funding and other benefits for municipalities and counties.
Over decades as a hard-charging businessman, Trump has been embroiled in numerous legal battles with local governments, from lawsuits to property tax appeals to zoning fights.
At least half a dozen disputes, including the Westchester lawsuit, remained unresolved as the Trump presidency began in late January.
"Donald Trump has shown to date that he can play hardball in these kinds of disputes," said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. "I would imagine any local official would at least have a moment of pause before going as hard as they otherwise would against the Trump companies."
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