The city has won another battle in the assessment appeal case brought by the owner of the city’s largest mansion.
The State Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled Thursday that Saratoga Property Developments, the listed owner of John Breyo’s 60,000-square-foot mansion, must turn over documents to the city to help it assess the property for tax purposes.
The city had assessed Breyo’s home at just less than $20 million and Breyo appealed the assessment, saying that the assessment should be $4.2 million.
He didn’t let city officials visit the property to assess it, so after Breyo appealed, they asked for documentation to show how much he paid to have the house built.
He refused to provide it, and the state Supreme Court said he had to. He then appealed the decision to the Appellate Division.
John Aspland, an attorney representing the city in the matter, said Breyo could appeal to the state Court of Appeals,
Aspland expects that Breyo will turn over the documents or a notice of appeal in the next 20 or 30 days.
“This is going to help the city be in a position to best defend the case,” Aspland said. “If John Breyo should get a tax reduction, than he should.”
Breyo’s massive home, which Accounts Commissioner John Franck has said is a little bit bigger than the White House, sits on nearly 30 acres.
Franck compared the home to similar-sized homes on Long Island to arrive at his assessment figure.
“They’re really just trying to ensure that people are paying their fair share of taxes,” Aspland said of city officials.
Other municipalities in similar situations will look to this decision, Aspland said.
“This is a case that now in the state of New York can be relied upon by every municipality who is defending a tax assessment case,” he said, because it rules that the documents should be turned over, which had never been spelled out before.
It also will likely affect the assessment appeal brought by fellow mansion owner David Silipigno, who owns a 20,000-square-foot home on Stony Brook Drive.
The city has assessed Silipigno’s home at $7.6 million, but he said it should be valued at $2.1 million.
That case has been on hold pending the resolution of the Breyo case, Aspland said.
In both cases, city officials want to look at design plans, material receipts, pay records, architectural renderings, bills and change orders to determine what the assessment should be.
Breyo’s lawyer was not available for comment Thursday.