As the Occupy movement struggles to stay in place with winter and multiple pepper spray fronts lashing the countryside, the Right screams that the dirty, criminal hippies deserve to be kicked out of “private property” unlike the law-abiding owners of Zuccotti Park. Oh wait.
It turns out that the owners of Zuccotti Park — the historic site of Occupy Wall Street — have been engaged in some of the very same tax-dodging that many of the protesters were enraged about. The “city Finance Department says park owner Brookfield Properties and its parent company, Brookfield US Corp., currently owe the city more than $139,000 in unpaid business taxes from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.”
Never you mind that unpaid tax bill thing and dating the Mayor. Them hippies need a-punchin’, so a-punchin’s gonna git done.
Taxation is theft*, so it doesn’t matter.
It would be amusing if someone would go after them for the back taxes. Long and loud.
@Linda Featheringill: Even more amusing if OWS paid them up.
@jeffreyw: What’d be the icing on that cake would be if paying their back taxes gave them a share of the real estate. Not likely, but just think about it.
In some states that is a necessary element for adverse possession. You need to do it for about 20 years to get it to stick, though, so it is probably more trouble than it is worth.
If you start paying for a dedicated space on a property (and taxes works just as well calling it “rent”), a court might find an implied leasehold. That would give them property interests and require the park owners to go through eviction proceedings to get them off the property. Heh.
That being said, this does not appear to be a case where anyone would serious find an implied lease.
The real crime is that they even think of asking job creators like them to pay taxes for some piece of land that gets used all the time by the eaters.
Radley Balko is engaging in a little pearl-clutching over someone taking a public whiz at the Occupy DC encampment. Because, I guess, Libertarians never urinate.
Whatever else you think of them, the OWS movement has really exposed the shambles that we call a right to free speech, association and assembly. So many things about this era feel like the early 30s. One main difference is that there is no communist ideology for the capitalists to fear. Not pining for the reds in any way shape or form, but it sure would be healthy for big capital to regain a little fear of the masses.
@Michael: Maybe if the company allowed the OWSers to pay the back taxes on the park, and to pay next year’s taxes as soon as they are due, there could be some sort of implied leasehold for the remainder of the year under a theory of equity. This, of course, would be a matter of NY law, of which I am thoroughly ignorant.
Interesting thought experiment, though.
The Other Bob
Who are all these so-called OWS people and is it their goal to preserve park spaces that are in danger?
Sorry, what’s the “dating the mayor” angle?
@Warren Terra: The mayor’s girlfriend is on the board of the company who technically owns zucotti park.
Kudos to the tabloid New York Daily News for breaking this story that Zandar links to at ThinkProgress. Given the paper’s malicious reporting on OWS during the occupation of Zuccotti Park, I am more than a little surprised. (I’ve already sent off an email to the paper thanking them for this act of journalism.)
No indication in the article about how the information was obtained. Tax records are public, of course, but it requires actual effort to slog through the files, and then for an editor(s) to take responsibility for publishing the findings.
Notably, the first person quoted in the story is a NYC councilwoman who was arrested during the police raid last month that evicted protesters from the park.
The story will certainly embarrass Diana Taylor, Brookfield Properties board member and inamorata of emperor Bloomberg. Fellow billionaire and Daily News publisher, Mort Zuckerman, will be getting an earful today from Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend. I expect there’ll be a little less holiday cheer at the next gala they all attend.
Tomorrow (December 6) begins a next phase in the Occupy movement: “Occupy Our Homes,” actions that will focus upon the foreclosure crisis and mortgage fraud. This Salon article by Justin Elliott offers a good outline:
The Other Bob
I don’t know if the following story is true or urban legend:
I read somewhere about farmers during the depression who would show up at farm auctions, where the farm had been foreclosed. According tot he story, the area farmers would show up to the auction armed and would make it clear that no one should bid – except the current owner, who would then buy his own farm for cheap and get out from under the bank.
@The Other Bob: When there is a foreclosure you always have a representative of the bank there to bid at least the value of unpaid loan balance. When you get far along a wave of foreclosures, like in the Tom Joad scenario, the banks end up owning nearly all the properties.
@The Other Bob: (#16)
Thanks for your reply. While I was not aware of that particular and plausible situation, the application of the Second Amendment in defense of property rights is a venerable American tradition.
However, in these current hard times, should local Occupy protesters engage in a similar manner during foreclosure proceedings, I expect the result would be sanguine in all the wrong ways.
The Other Bob
No doubt, but it would have been interesting if some sort of direct (non violent) confrontation would have happened early on in this foreclosure mess.
Actually that did happen out in the boonies where the sheriff and local bank rep were probably in on the deal. Otherwise the local law would put a stop to that.
I’m quite certain that Mayor Bloomberg will send in his “army” to collect the overdue taxes…in 3…2…1…oh, waitaminit; no hippies here, no problem. Carry on, please.
The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik
Meanwhile, the supposed “true video” of what happened at UC Davis with the pepper spray incident is making its rounds and supposedly proves that the police were super duper justified with the pepper spray and that the protesters really were super extra violent.
This just pisses me off considering several people I know who have been slowly swayed to appreciate the Occupy message suddenly swung back into hardcore “FUCK THE HIPPIES! VIVA LA 1%!” mode because of this, and it keeps making me want to tear my hair out and give up that you can do all this work to get someone to even consider a left-wing message and all it takes is one stupid thing from the right side to send them veering off like a shot even further away from where you started.
@The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik: What could the protesters possibly have been doing from a seated position?
By the way, claims that LAPD undercover detectives infiltrated Occupy LA
“It’s often said that Zuccotti Park is “private property” owned by Brookfield Office Properties. But this isn’t quite true. The park was created as part of a deal in which the predecessor of Brookfield would be allowed a build an office tower beyond the limits of zoning laws in exchange for creating a park always open to the public. Brookfield’s ownership consists mainly of a duty to pay for the park’s upkeep.
It doesn’t own the property in the way that you own your home. It cannot exclude unwanted guests, it cannot close the park for even one day a year, it cannot dictate what can and cannot be said by guests in the park. The park is actually public property for which a private party has accepted upkeep responsibility in exchange for a zoning variance.”
Nit: I believe the proper parsing (or whatever) of that sentiment is “People! Those hippies ain’t gonna punch themselves!”
And now we return to our regularly-scheduled snark-o-fest.
Maybe the “new video” is actually Beavis and Butthead commenting on the protest video?
I live in the area and have heard nothing about more vids. But over in Palm Springs, we did have this occur.
Guessing they’ll charge her with assault on a dead weapon.
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
This is the “new” video in question All it does really is show clips of the aftermath with students making a human ring around the cops in reaction to the pepper spraying it seems. But it seems to be enough to cause people formerly sympathetic to Occupy to suddenly snap and declare that the students ‘held the cops hostage’ and were about to become some sort of super riot.
And no amount of my buttback seems to work. The’ve snapped all the way to the right on this shit and there’s no fucking dragging them back anymore. Soon as someone can find a reason to disagree with a hippie, apparently. The absolute worst thing ever in America apparently is having to agree with a hippie. And it pisses me off.
EDIT: just adding in a bit more ranty
Paul in KY
@The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: Tell them they’re not hippies, they just looked like hippies.
Those kids (or their parents) were paying for a UCD education.
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
@Paul in KY:
Since when has someone not being anywhere close to an actual hippie kept anyone from indulging in gratuitous Hippie Punching? It doesn’t matter that they’re paying students. They’re chanting, they’re being ‘violent’, and they aren’t prim and proper dressed. Therefore…HIPPIES, STOP THEM NOW!!!!!
@Lysana: You don’t seem to understand that Brookfield would love to unburden itself of Zuccotti Park, a space that they get zero revenue from but have to pay maintenance expense for.
This thread is so full of stupid it hurts.