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City claims Vornado must pay WTC taxes.

The city warned Vornado Realty Trust that it expects to collect the full $100 million in property taxes on the World Trade Center, according to published reports.

In a letter to the company by Finance Commissioner Andrew Eristoff, the city told Vornado not to rely on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's promise to take care of the city tax issue once a 99-year lease for the landmark building is signed.

Vornado was the high bidder for the World Trade Center and plans for pay $3.25 for the lease. The company is in the process of negotiating details of the contract for the deal.

When contacted regarding the tax issue, a Vornado spokeswoman said the company had no comment.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had been making $25 million a year in payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, because they are a public agency. PA vice chairman Charles Gargano told the New York Post that he expects negotiations will result in payments to the city that are somewhere between $25 and $100 million.

But city officials are insisting that the full $100 million be paid because the granting of a 99-year lease is the same as selling the building. The city is reportedly prepared to fight the issue in court.

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, who is running for mayor, entered into the fray by sending a letter to PA chairman Lew Eisenberg expressing concern that the agency might be trying to avoid paying the taxes. Vallone has proposed creating a trust for affordable housing with the $100 million in taxes from the World Trade Center.

Eisenberg issued a response saying he'd like to resolve all issues between the city and the World Trade Center.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Vornado Realty Trust
Author:KEITH, NATALIE
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 14, 2001
Words:294
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