Dayton-Seaside Put On Notice
By John McLoughlin
With a $54 million tax bill mounting on the Dayton-Seaside buildings along Shore Front parkway, the New York City Corporation Counsel filed a foreclosure of tax liens on Friday, October 1 with the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
Action against 107-10 Shore Front parkway, 106-20 Shore Front parkway and 1 Beach 105 street was taken after 15 years of controversy. As of September 22, the liens for unpaid delinquent real property taxes and charges totaled $19 million for 107-10, $19 million for 106-20, and $15 million for 1 Beach 105.
Paul Rephen, attorney for Corporation Counsel, said the owners of the property would have 20 days to respond to the papers filed in court. Citing a mounting tax lien, tenant concerns, and deteriorating physical conditions, Rephen said this "can’t continue" and the "taxes rode for a long time."
Michael Zukerman, a principal of Dayton Management, said this "came as a surprise." At the beginning of the week, Zukerman met with tenants, which he referred to as "positive." He said he would be "evaluating all options," with bankruptcy being a possibility.
Another principal of Dayton Management, David Zukerman, called the city’s actions "a ridiculous claim, a claim that reflects the refusal of the City of New York to resolve the property taxes at Dayton-Seaside and then penalize the owners for the city’s failure to resolve the taxes."
The Zukerman’s have attempted to discuss the tax matter with city officials over the years, but they claim the city either stonewalled or ignored them. In a letter dated October 16, 1996, Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli of the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development said "HPD is working with other city agencies to provide an updated proposal to resolve Dayton-Seaside’s outstanding tax problems for city council consideration and action this year." She continues by saying "we expect that there will be city action to resolve this matter in the very near future."
Queens Borough President Claire Shulman also addressed the Dayton-Seaside tax matter in a letter to Mayor Giuliani on March 26, 1997. She said "At a meeting I convened on February 1, 1996, the city promised to have a resolution within four weeks. At year end, the matter was still not resolved and on December 23, 1996 I again met with the tenants and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Councilman Alfonso Stabile. We were again reassured by the city that the matter would be resolved in the very near future."
Tenants of the three buildings were glad to hear that the city is moving to resolve the matter. Barbara Buffolino, president of S.H.A.F.T., said "we are pleased action is being taken by the city," but she continued by saying that "a long, drawn out litigation" will overshadow the concerns of the tenants.
Buffolino said tenants want a receiver appointed to keep money flowing into repairing hazardous conditions.
"We want to live with peace of mind and decently," Buffolino said. "We fear that the litigation will take the focus off our issue--the safety of the buildings."