Question: Would you be interested in joining a lawsuit on behalf of the taxpayers against iStar?

One resident (whose name will probably be identified if and when he comments) is very interested in bringing on lawsuit against iStar, for what he calls “bait & switch tactics by iStar against us taxpayers.”

Basically, iStar first tells us they need to build these towers an unprecedented height in order for it to be sustainable. After that was granted, iStar pulls the IDA card looking for tax abatements, basically saying they need these breaks or they can’t build….. but they should have told us that when they first announced this development, no? Anyway, this IDA request came as a major shock to many residents still trying to survive in our post-Sandy city.

While this is all talk for now, how many of you would seriously be interested in joining and/or even contributing to a lawsuit on behalf of the taxpayers against iStar? Raise your hands.

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27 thoughts on “Question: Would you be interested in joining a lawsuit on behalf of the taxpayers against iStar?”

  1. I would gladly partake in any legal action; it’s my game.

    But as much as I disdain the shenanigans presented by iStar and the City Council, I don’t see any basis for a lawsuit. Please educate me.

    What type of suit would the principal be “collecting money” to support?

    You’ll have to show me that this isn’t just one more opportunist Long Beach scam playing on people’s emotions for personal enrichment. Just like our legendary corruption, we lead the way in producing charitable scams too.

  2. The IDA is obviously the only entity that can decide whether a tax abatement takes place.

    Serious and important question: who appoints members to the IDA board? Democrats or Republicans?

    If it is Republicans and they are given any PILOT, even a reduced one, we must vote Democratic down the line. If the IDA is Democratic and they give them iStars a PILOT, we must vote Republucan. So which is it? Does the City Council or County Executive appoint IDA members?

  3. The City Council only lied. They said they didn’t endorse the tax abatement when they did.

    They also granted their own $1.5 million abatement which they kept from public record.

    You can’t sue politicians for lying.

    You can vote them out of office though.

  4. The IDA is all Republicans appointed by Mangano. Everyone knows this but the local contingent is trying to throw blame on Dems somehow. It’s like Lomonte getting a variance from the zoning board to build his home higher than allowed by law and then claiming the Dems are overdeveloping long beach.

  5. The question is ” Would you be interested in joining a lawsuit….” ?
    Anthony, I’m in, and I’m will to put my money where my mouth is..Talk is cheap! I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes from your pal TTMS..
    I’m sure he’s disappointed with the head count, so far. Let’s blame it on the weather.

  6. Very funny Rich. I hope Jay is wrong, but I sense he may be correct, the bait and switch will be granted in some form. Maybe the value and length of the PILOT will be decreased due to some of the public outcry, but that may have been part of the plan. Look, I understand that abatements are not uncommon for many development projects. In fact, after a major home improvement some years ago, my newly assessed value was only gradually applied, 20% per year over 5 years until it was fully taxed, so I too benefited from abatement. But this request by I Star is too much for too long given the valuable real estate involved and the fact that a luxury development is the project and IStar misrepresented their financial to the LB Zoning Board. So if the PILOT is granted as requested, I would support exploring the sense of supporting a law suit with your money Rich, and I might even kick in a few ducats myself if it makes sense.

  7. That 1.5million thing is RIDICULOUS. the same law group representing iStar had set up the “nonprofit” responsible for the 1.5million abatement. The person responsible is also on the city payroll and once sat on an IdA board with several members of the firm representing iStar.

    If this is not a conflict of interest then I do not know what is.

  8. Has anyone figured out the basis for the lawsuit? Or is this just “let’s sue because we don’t like what’s happening”? I don’t think they broke any laws, and there’s no law against asking for an abatement.

    There may be some criminal conflicts among public officials, but I suspect thy were smart enough not to break laws or to cover their tracks when they conspired on this thing.

    I’d love to hear the grounds for a lawsuit. It would give a a thread of hope to stop this thing.

  9. We were lied to. Yes, many projects have IDA attached to it, but let’s keep in mind: This is not a brownfield project. This is beachfront property in the heart of Long Beach. This type of property is nowhere else on Long Island.

    1) we were first sold on the idea that the only way they can make this development profitable is if they do the 17+ (whatever the number is) stories.

    2)After getting height approval, a height that is unprecedented in Long Beach, they then turn around and say “we can only build with the tax abatement.”

    Sandra B, I am not sure where you are confused. We were all lied to. It was a bait and switch. From the start, so many people were ok with the height because they saw this development as a way to bring in more taxes to LB. They supported the project. iStar got the approval, then turns around and wants to take tax money away from us. bait and switch. I am not the only person who feels that way.

    I do agree that this was the plan all along. I also agree that Nassau will grant the abatement. I also agree that litigation won’t do anything.

    But I still think we were lied to. bait and switch.

  10. Anthony, I’m not confused and I do agree with you on every point you say. Yes, we were lied to.

    But it’s not illegal for a developer to lie or for politicians to lie. It may be illegal for their lawyer to exert influence on the City Council he controls, but even that’s a stretch.

    I wish it something as simple as a lawsuit would stop this thing, but I still don’t see any grounds to sue. We elect representatives to make these decisions. We elected a Council (Democrat) who gave a $1.5 million tax abatement and recommended that the IDA approve a tax abatement. Then they told us they would not discuss that.

    We elected an Executive (Republican) who appointed an IDA that doesn’t answer to the taxpayer or voter and meets in private.

    This is all within the law. So who do we sue?

  11. Istar. They promised us tax benefits only to take it away after they got the development approval.

    I pay taxes. Why can’t they? Also, I wonder if a lawsuit against IDA has any merit. I still don’t understand how or why the superblock (an extremely large piece of property in the heart of LB that is beachfront, walking distance to the LIRR and center of town) is even in the conversation for a tax break.

    incinerator? yes. Brownfield? yes. toxic wasteland? yes. Beachfront property? no. I don’t have beachfront property and I pay my taxes. I was actually not that against iStar until IDA got involved.

  12. I’ll be the first in line. But I see our recourse only to those we elected to represent us. We gave the Council and the County the authority to negotiate and rule on this stuff. The ZBA could say iStar lied and reverse themselves any time they like. But they won’t. They’ll support iStar no matter what they do.

    Suing iStar is like suing Iran because they lied to Obama.

    At least that’s how I see it.

    Please, please some attorney (who is interested in more than just his fee) chime in and advise whether there is any legal measure we can take.

    But beware: Here’s one more opportunity for some bogus non-profit to step up and collect “donations” to fight corporate America and then do nothing. This is Long Beach, after all.

  13. Yes, merit and viability, legal grounds, need to be presented before anyone can sign on Richard. Anthony restates the grounds that we hope are actionable, that anger us all and strike us as a clear case of bait and switch. TTMS suggests misrepresentation before the zoning board to obtain the height variance. I agree. But is it actionable. I would contribute to some fund to secure the legal opinion that Sandra correctly states is necessary going forward. Let’s hope the IDA takes this into account in modifying any abatement this project may receive.

  14. Uh? Why against the IDA? They haven’t even granted or denied it yet. It should be against the City for pushing this turd on us or iStar for misrepresenting themselves at the ZBA hearing. Come on Richy youryou’re smartsmarter than that.

  15. Let me see if I got this straight, you are going to try and compare a two and a half foot variance to a 17 story monstrosity, that doesn’t want to pay it’s taxes? Your logic is delusional at best.

    And remember who brought us this mess the Democratic Majority on the city council lead by Zapson. Don’t try to spin this into Republican thing cause its not. Man you people are really scared of them aren’t you.

  16. Angelo Lomonte is a good man. Yes he had to get a variance from the Zoning Board because he wanted to build higher than the legal limit. He is allowed to go higher than the legal limit if the board approved it and they did! He didn’t break the law by building a house with a tall tower. He went through the proper channels to build higher! He was on the Zoning Board and talked to the other members about why he wanted the variance and they all agreed to grant it. Building up high in the sky is the new normal here. Leave Angelo alone!!!!!!!!

  17. Did they lie or did they perjure themselves? The definition of perjury is the willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry. iStar is on the official record with the ZBA as being able to proceed financially with the project if they get the height variance. For the IDA, which they are also on the record for, the project is only viable with a PILOT. One of those was not true. Did they perjure themselves? Could that be the legal angle?

  18. In Lomonte’s explanation from last week (see http://www.seabythecity.com/?p=27197). He stated he recused himself from his hearing and only went 2’7″ beyond the 25′ height limit. So what tower are you talking about? Did he install a something new since I drove by last week? With the lack of parking in this town, I highly doubt any rational person will fault him for asking for that small increase so he can get ample parking under his home.

    And as for saying we need to vote Dem down the line because the IDA is all Republicans? Wow, I don’t even know where to start with that, cause it’s so wrong on so many levels.

    P.S. the definition of overdevelopment is subdivisions, excessive density, converting single family homes into multiplefamily homes, excessive height (which is typically a request for more than 10% of the existing height limit), etc. That’s what the Republicans are against, they are not against people trying to do flood mitigation or achieve parking. Overdevelopment is what the Zapson Democrats have been bringing us for the last decade.

  19. Thanks for identifying yourself as nothing more than a trolling political hack on a mission to smear Lomonte.

    Why not ask, how many HAVE lifted their house, to be more transparent to the public, oh i know why because it does not serve your goal of smear. But I will give you the answer, NONE. You obviously know nothing about lifting vs new construction, because if you did you would know he had no option in the matter if he wanted to achieve parking under the structure. If his home was a new construction, like another dem candidates was he could have accommodated and stayed withing the 25 foot limit, but this was a lift.

  20. It’s an interesting approach. What a lawsuit would provide is sunlight on a very dark and dirty deal. We would hope that it would expose The Dem Leader for what he truly is to Long beach, and that is a menace. It was his maneuvering that set up the LDC in LB. It was his friends at Harris, Beach that got paid for this. It is his friends at Harris, Beach who, coincidently, are the current attorneys for this deal. It is left unsaid that the Dem Leader may have been representing iStar. It may be that the City Council members were well aware of this during this process. It may well be that the City Mgr was well aware of this, and maybe, just maybe, he is, or will benefit personally from this deal. It is interesting that with all of the current squabbling that the local Dems have going on, that this seems to be, from what local gossip offers, a very serious sticking point. Do the people running this city care what the locals think anymore? Do any of them plan to be here in a few years when the traffic near the beach is impossible? Have they seen the recent traffic backups in town WITHOUT two 19 story towers adding to the fun? I am not as excited about winning a lawsuit as I am about exposing the Dem Leader and the City Council for the inept and disinterested, selfish crooks that they all are.
    Just my opinion.

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