Novartis site owners give up bid for lower tax bill as Ramapo
A gambit by the owners of the former Novartis property for a significant tax reduction has failed, Ramapo and village officials said.The proposed reduction that Suffern Partners LLC sought in court in 2020 would have reduced the property's assessment from $41 million to $6 million.To get more latest news on novartis, you can visit shine news official website.
By ending the case and conceding the value of the parcels, the owners spared taxpayers a potential $1.36 million loss in tax revenue and a resulting property tax increase, officials said.This is a huge victory for the average taxpayer in Ramapo and Suffern,” Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht said. “Suffern Partners, LLC exhibited egregious behavior throughout this process and acted in bad faith as they attempted to save millions in taxes that they legally owed."
Specht said the company — embroiled in lawsuits among its partners and in violation of zoning — tried to exploit the system without regard for the adverse economic impact it would have on taxpayers.
"Ramapo taxpayers should never have to foot the bill for a big business that seeks to gain a financial advantage through underhanded and unpardonable means," Specht said.The case centered around the old Novartis Pharmaceutical facility, a 167-acre property on Old Mill Road in Suffern, as well as other parcels across the village and in Montebello.
While claiming the property's value had decreased and seeking a tax deduction, Sufferm Partners LLC entered into a contract to sell the property for $55 million.Suffern Partners failed to notify the town of the impending sale, which it was required to do under state law, officials said. Instead, the company continued pursuing legal action against the town, despite the disparity between the sale price and the market value, town officials said.
When Ramapo learned about the potential sale in March 2020, special counsel Dylan Harris of Lewis Greer, P.C., filed a motion to dismiss Suffern Partners' lawsuit.Specht said Ramapo received a signed stipulation of discontinuance, which is tantamount to an acknowledgment by Suffern Partners that it failed to comply with the New York State Real Property Tax Law and effectively ended the company’s legal challenge.
"When dealing with tax matters, you see property owners bring case after case after case to whittle away at the town, lose or prevailed at trial or settle," Harris said. "As far as being a crime, I've never seen it viewed that way. Here, it was more of an absence of information than a false filing."
Ramapo Assessor Scott Shedler, the state assessors' association's legislative coordinator and a former group president, said he has been working with state legislators on various bills that would protect all property owners, including from the costs of frivolous litigation.
The association is proposing that New York adopt a bill that would raise a commercial property owner’s assessment if the owner brings a tax challenge and the court finds the property is under-assessed."Such a law currently exists in New Jersey and has been an effective method to deter repetitive and frivolous real property tax challenges," Shedler said.