Lambda Legal Reaches Settlement on Behalf of Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center in Lawsuit Seeking Property Tax Exemption
(New York, February 20, 2008) — The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center has settled its lawsuit against the City of Kingston over the Center's property tax exemption.
"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the City of Kingston, and that the City now recognizes the important work that the Center does in the community. This agreement will help the Center's work to continue and to grow," said Thomas W. Ude, Jr., Senior Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal.
The Center, which is run entirely by volunteers, was formed in 2005 to provide social services, counseling, education and cultural programs for the region. Although what it does squarely entitles it to non-profit property tax exemption under the New York Real Property Tax Law, in March 2007 Kingston's assessor denied its application, claiming that the Center's activities do not warrant exemption. The Center appealed to the Board of Assessment Review, but the Board denied that appeal. Left with a bruising tax bill, the Center filed suit in court to compel the City to recognize that its activities entitled its property to the exemption.
The City and the Center then reached an agreement that the Center's activities do, in fact, meet the legal requirements for a tax exemption, and the parties stipulated to a court order saying so. With the entry of that court order today, the dispute has been resolved.
"The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center deserves fair and equal treatment under the law," said Ginny Apuzzo, President of the Board of Directors for the Center. "We are engaged in building an important community advocacy and education institution, not just a mere social club, and we are pleased the City of Kingston now recognizes that."
Thomas W. Ude, Jr., Senior Staff Attorney and Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal's Headquarters in New York handled the case. They were joined by Patricia C. Kakalec, Executive Director of the Worker's Rights Law Center of New York, Inc. and Attorneys Janice Mac Avoy, Jennifer L. Colyer and Ron Lazebnik of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson LLP in New York.
The case is Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center v. Bahruth.
Contact: Erin Baer 212-809-8585 ext 267; Email: [email protected]