State Corruption Commission Subpoenas Real Estate Developers

Special state corruption commission subpoenas New York City real estate developers over valuable tax breaks

The questionable luxury projects include the soaring tower being built on 57th St. by Extell Development Co.

Glenn Blain

The New York Daily News

August 8, 2013

The special state commission investigating corruption has subpoenaed several New York City real estate developers to determine how they won valuable tax breaks from the Legislature, sources confirmed Wednesday.

Their luxury projects, including a soaring tower being built on 57th St. by Extell Development Co., were made eligible for the tax abatements through language mysteriously placed into a bill that passed this year.

The Daily News exposed the tax-break giveaway in June. At the time, the bill’s sponsors could not tell The News who selected the projects for special treatment.

Extell’s abatement alone is projected to cost the city $35 million over 10 years.

Four of the developers benefitting from the bill have contributed $1.5 million to various state campaigns since 2008.

“It is the most dramatic example of a how a special interest can exploit weaknesses in our campaign finance system to influence public policy,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause NY.

Extell said it will “cooperate fully with any agency trying to improve government.”

Gov. Cuomo created the corruption commission after the Legislature failed to adopt his proposed ethics reforms.

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