As City Gets Tough, Recchia Concerned Nonprofits May Suffer

In what the New York Post is calling City Hall’s version of digging through the couch for change, the city is looking to potentially revoke property tax exemptions for thousands of nonprofit groups.

This move by the Bloomberg Administration comes after four years of failing to sort out legitimate organizations from fraudulent ones. Now, Councilman Domenic Recchia says some groups may be unjustly penalized as a result of the city’s actions.

From the Post:

The Post reported in September that the Finance Department failed to check on the tax-exempt status of any organization claiming it since 2007 — potentially costing the Big Apple millions of tax bucks. Since then, the department sent out questionnaires to nearly 12,000 real-estate owners on the exemption rolls — and 3,000 of them have ignored the mailings.
Property owners who have not filed by Dec. 5 will lose their exemptions starting July 1.
“The strategy of ignoring us is not a good one,” (city Finance Commissioner David) Frankel said. “We’re trying to be as flexible as we possibly can . . . We’re trying to get compliance.”
The current effort applies only to future bills. It does not include efforts to collect money owed from the past, although that could eventually happen sources said.

The city’s property tax exemption rolls were called into question after former City Corrections Department chaplain Rabbi Leib Glanz and his brother Menashe Glanz were arrested in September for conspiracy, theft and fraud. The siblings were charged with stealing more than $200,000 in federal rent subsides meant for low income tenants.

Recchia, the city council’s finance chairman, has expressed concern that some vital not-for-profits could get caught up in the dragnet and lose their property tax exemption – not for any illegal activity or loss of their nonprofit status, but merely for missing the deadline.

“You just can’t go out and wake up one day and say, ‘We’re going to take away your tax-exempt status,” Recchia told the Post.

City Councilman Domenic Recchia represents Council District 47, which includes Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, as well as part of Bensonhurst. He currently serves as Chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee