State subpoenas big landlords who got big tax breaks


Wall Street Journal

Subpoenas Sent to City's Big Landlords
New York State Corruption Commission Examines Tax Breaks

A New York state commission to investigate corruption has issued subpoenas to three high-profile New York City real-estate developers, seeking information related to valuable tax breaks they received in state legislation, according to people informed of the subpoenas. The subpoenas were sent in recent days to Extell Development Co., Silverstein Properties Inc. and Thor Equities, the people said, and seek information related to a housing bill that passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in late January.

The bill included a provision that would allow for greatly reduced residential property taxes for years on five specific Manhattan development sites, including Extell's 1,004-foot hotel condo tower called One57 by Central Park, Silverstein's planned Four Seasons tower in Lower Manhattan, and a Thor Equities site on Fifth Avenue.
One person who examined a subpoena from the commission, known as the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, said the information requested was extensive, seeking emails and other communications with lobbyists and elected officials over multiple years relating to the tax break.

Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney and co-chairwoman of the commission, said the commission has begun issuing subpoenas, but she declined to say who received them or the topicof the inquiries. "We have not prejudged anyone or anything—we are going to follow whatever evidence we have, wherever it goes," she said.