Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Councilman Bruce Blakeman today announced that Hempstead Town will sue the town’s Industrial Development Agency to nullify an agreement between the Agency and the owners of the Green Acres Mall, which effectively reduced the property taxes paid by the mall’s owners through a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement. Santino and Blakeman said they are taking action to protect local taxpayers.
“Respecting taxpayers has been the hallmark of my administration since being sworn in as Hempstead Town Supervisor in January,” said Santino. “I take my responsibility of fighting for taxpayers, open government and transparency very seriously. These principles are at the core of the lawsuit that we will file against the IDA.”
The officials have stated that the Industrial Development Agency’s procedures evidenced jurisdictional defects in failing to provide public notice to various governments that would be impacted by the agreement. Further, Santino and Blakeman observed that the IDA Board’s actions in granting the PILOT to Valley Stream Green Acres LLC, the mall’s owner, were arbitrary and capricious.
“Valley Stream middle-class families and seniors should not have to suffer or pay one penny more in taxes because the IDA did not properly do its job,” said Blakeman. “The IDA has failed in its duty to adequately notify affected taxpayers and clearly detail the impact of this agreement on local property owners.”
The Supervisor and the Councilman said that their lawsuit seeks to rescind the PILOT agreement, restore the mall to the tax rolls and cause new public hearings to be held on the issue. Prior to announcing the lawsuit, the Supervisor and Councilman had called upon the IDA Board to re-open the hearing on the matter and to retain an economist to re-examine the impact of the PILOT agreement on local taxpayers.
“Valley Stream taxpayers deserve to have their voices heard, and the IDA’s failure to notify local governments who were affected limited their voice on the Green Acres Mall deal,” concluded Santino. “Councilman Blakeman and I will continue to fight for taxpayers. This lawsuit will give voice to frustrated Valley Stream home owners.”