By Attorney Popular Publications

MSF in Downtown Express

“I am gratified that the D.H.C.R. made the correct decision — ruling that Independence Plaza is not rent stabilized,” Stephen Meister, Gluck’s lawyer, said in a statement. “In the end, this is a win for the tenants as well.”

Meister said the tenants are already benefiting from the 2004 agreement they negotiated with Gluck before he removed the building from Mitchell-Lama, which offers them some rent protections. Meister has said that the tenants would lose those protections if they won their case, though the tenants dispute that.

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Attorneys Mentioned: Stephen B. Meister

Landlords who are renovating their buildings can apply for a J-51, which reduces their property tax but also puts the building under rent-stabilization. Meister said Independence Plaza’s abatement was only $7,550 a year, a relative drop in the bucket of property taxes that now run about $8 million a year. In contrast, Tishman Speyer Properties, Stuyvesant’s owner, received $24.5 million in J-51 tax breaks.

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Attorneys Mentioned: Stephen B. Meister

Stephen Meister, who represents Gluck and is involved in the Stuyvesant case, does not expect the Stuyvesant case to influence the decision on I.P.N.

“There’s nothing to link the two cases,” said Meister, who launched the most recent unsuccessful Stuyvesant appeal on behalf of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Stuyvesant Town’s owners received about $25 million in tax breaks over 17 years, Meister said, while Independence Plaza’s owners received much less money over a shorter period of time. Harold Cohn, the former owner of I.P.N., started receiving the J-51 tax abatement of $7,550 a year in 1998 and Gluck continued receiving it after he bought the building in 2003.

Meister has argued that the city was supposed to discontinue the tax break when Gluck removed I.P.N. from the Mitchell-Lama middle-class housing program in 2004, but instead the city continued the tax break by mistake until 2006. Then, Gluck stopped receiving the benefit and paid back about $17,000.

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Attorneys Mentioned: Stephen B. Meister

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