Partners Ricardo Solano, Jr. and Eric Seiler File Amicus Brief Regarding Discriminatory Impact of NYC Property Tax System

September 28, 2017

In cooperation with the NAACP and the Citizens Budget Commission, Friedman Kaplan partners Ricardo Solano, Jr. and Eric Seiler today filed an amicus brief on behalf of LatinoJustice PRLDEF in support of Tax Equity Now New York’s lawsuit seeking reform of New York City’s property tax system.  Tax Equity Now New York (TENNY) is an organization made up of homeowners, renters, rental property owners, civil rights and social justice organizations, who in their lawsuit, filed in April 2017, argue that the New York City property tax system unfairly burdens minority and low income communities.

Independent experts and politicians have long pointed out the inherent biases in the New York City property tax system, which imposes unequal tax burdens on properties which hold little connection to those properties’ value. According to recently released data from the New School Center for New York City Affairs, people of Color constitute a minority of the population in the 15 community planning districts in which condos, coops, and rental properties are taxed at the lowest effective tax rates, but 72% of the 15 community planning districts in which those properties are taxed at the highest effective tax rates.

Comparisons between individual properties are often striking. A home sold in 2015 in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn for $150,000 has the same property tax bill ($4,297) as one that sold the same year for $9,000,000 in Carroll Gardens, even though the latter property was 6000% times more valuable.

“LatinoJustice is committed to the protection of civil and human rights within Latino communities,” said Juan Cartagena, President of Latino Justice. “We are very pleased for the opportunity to support TENNY’s efforts to reform NYC’s property tax system by submitting an amicus curiae brief in support of their lawsuit. We look forward to supporting their continued efforts fighting for reform of New York City’s broken property tax system alongside this diverse and broad coalition.”