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Top 53 delinquents owe $37M in taxes.

Top 53 delinquents owe $37M in taxes

The Department of Finance has released a list of the top 53 delinquent properties. Together, the properties owe the city nearly $37 million in real estate taxes dating back as far as 1988. While 21 properties first fell behind beginning July 1 of this year, another 20 owe money from Jan. 1. REW has also learned that in some cases the city was responsible for crediting the real estate taxes from its own coffers and never made the appropriate clerical changes in its records.

While it is assumed that the Department of Finance has brought payment histories up to date before releasing the list, it is entirely probable that buildings are shown by mistake and that owners have paid their taxes.

The city has also become more aggressive both in collecting delinquent taxes from building owners and compressing the time in which it takes for the city to take title to the properties. Additionally, those signing agreements with the city to pay back taxes must keep current amounts up-to-date.

This list brings a new set of buildings to the forefront as older bills are brought current. A Finance Official also noted that a greater number of properties tend to be delinquent in the beginning of the fiscal year and pay up as the year goes along. After one year, the official said, the properties become eligible for In Rem, so the owners pay off the oldest amounts. If a property is owed a refund or credit by the city, the official acknowledged it is possible that the paperwork is not yet complete.

The conclusion of some bankruptcies and workouts also precipitated some buildings' deletion from the list. Receivers, lenders and trustees of property in bankruptcy try to begin timely payments of real estate taxes to avoid the current 18 percent interest charges to the city.

The current economic conditions have brought buildings, such as 214 East 56 Street owned by Peter Kalikow, onto the list for the first time. That building is one which is listed in his bankruptcy petition.

A company representative said the situation with the empty 1540 Broadway, a Bruce Eichner project that is in a workout with the lenders, is also expected to be resolved in the near future and its taxes paid.

At 530 East 73 Street, the owner's financial officer said the city's records indicated the building had a large 421-a abatement credit. The owner paid the amount the city actually billed him for real estate taxes, and the city agreed to credit the remainder. The owner has now learned that the city never made the internal changes to credit the remaining real estate taxes.

The city rents another property, located in Brooklyn at 210 Livingston Street, and that company's controller said the city is responsible. "It's their responsibility to be paying the taxes," he said. "I've been writing them letters and they ignore them." A spokesperson for the Department of Finance said the outstanding bill is for a water charge.

Because of crediting problems, REW is not publishing the names of owners with amounts due to the city. The block and lots, and addressed are being published with the hope that owners will check their own records and follow up to ensure the city makes the proper adjustments.

Stephan F. Anfang, the founder of Collect, which believes the city should sell real estate tax liens in order to collect its money in a timely fashion, said

"There's an opportunity here in general for a win-win situation for the city, and for investors, for people to buy a first line -- giving the city cash flow and otherwise not modifying or changing the rights of the owner of the real estate. Whatever extent the liens are sold it privatizes the collection process."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:delinquent properties
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 18, 1991
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