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OUT-OF-TOWN FIRM PAYS $150,000 IN DISPUTED BACK TAXES

The out-of-town owner of two pieces of property in North Tonawanda has paid $150,000 in back taxes to the city with the promise of more to come, City Attorney Jeffrey N. Mis said Friday.

The exact amount in delinquent taxes owed by Brook Acquisitions of Long Island, a holding company, on property at 193 Mead St. and 156 Robert Drive is still being negotiated in an ongoing State Supreme Court case but could approach $800,000.

The case began in 1994 when Brook Acquisitions challenged its tax assessment in court. The company claims it has been overassessed every year since then.

At this point, the city and property owner are preparing their own property appraisals.

Mis said he and the attorney for the company are attempting to resolve both the tax assessments and tax delinquency at the same time.

A final figure on the delinquent taxes will depend on what the court approves as the correct assessments for the years in question, Mis said.

Mis has argued that in order for the matter to be resolved, "a substantial down payment" on the back taxes must be made, along with a schedule for payment of the remaining taxes owed on the properties.

Since the parties are working toward a resolution of the dispute, "it was agreed that, because of the litigation, the city would not take possession of the properties through foreclosure, as we did with 29 other properties on Sept. 5," Mis said.

"However, if this matter is not resolved in the near future, the city intends to move forward with a court judgment resulting in the city taking possession," he added. "The bottom line for the city is getting the money owed plus the interest on whatever is determined in resolution of the tax assessment challenge."

Mis said the city "does not want the property, it wants payment of the back taxes."

He said the city expects another large payment before the matter is settled. "The owner knows we are serious about foreclosure," he added.

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