In the News: “You’re Rich, You’ll Be Fine”

••• The Surly Subgroup has a blog post about the tax implications of the Dog Owners of Tribeca’s status as a non-profit.

••• “Teachers at Downtown’s Peck Slip School are asking for city funding to install permanent safety barriers to protect kids on its daily ‘play street,’ where students are currently protected by the teachers’ own strategically parked cars at either end of the block.” —Downtown Express

••• According to a Community Board 1 study, “If impact fees, like those in effect in San Francisco, had been applied to the 173 new residential developments in Lower Manhattan since 2000, the community would have netted $240 million in funds for schools, parks, and other forms of civic infrastructure.” —Broadsheet

••• Grub Street spotlights Frenchette‘s brouillade with escargots: “Each order requires nearly 15 minutes of vigorous, nonstop stirring, plus the intuitive vigilance to move the pan around the French ring flattop as if it were a Ouija board, from hot to warm to cool spots, all to prevent the emulsion of egg, butter, and cream from breaking.”

••• Financial writer David Bach, who lives (lived?) in Battery Park City, talks about his best and worst investments; one was a Tribeca loft. —Wall Street Journal

••• Purportedly overheard in Tribeca, from Overheard in New York. Someone needs to read The Great Gatsby.

2 Comments

  1. Forgone impact fees are nothing compared to the 421a giveaway to developers and construction unions.

  2. I’m not sure I agree with all that tax analysis at the Surly Subgroup – first of all, if the 501c3 status were revoked today on account of illegal activity, donations made prior to the date of revocation would still be deductible.

    Second, even if the organization had *never* been a 501c3, it only would have been taxed on profit – the expense of actually cleaning the dog park would have been deductible. The organization actually lost money in 2016, but it ended the year with a ~$9500 cash balance. That seems like a pretty good proxy for total retained earnings (though my guess is that the principals have made significant donations over the years which wouldn’t have been accounted for as revenue). So it would have owned something like ~3000 in taxes over the years.

    Looking at archive.org, it seems like this project started out innocuously enough – 2011 pulls from the web site make no mention of membership, and make the whole thing appear a little like the Central Park conservancy – a donation-supported organization to clean and make improvements to a public park.

    The first mention of membership comes some time in 2014. At that point, things do like dicey for them:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20141013171519/http://www.dogownersoftribeca.com:80/membership/

    They call out the $120 membership payments as tax deductible – which I agree with the Surly Subgroup is at least a grey area given that you’re getting a service (access to a clean dog park) in return. Perhaps more telling, though, is the following passage:

    “The Warren Street Dog Park is privately owned. The NYC Parks Dept. has no involvement whatsoever with the park. The park is operated by Dog Owners of Tribeca, Inc. It is solely dependent on your membership dues to remain in operation.”

    Certainly that’s a) untrue, and b) not a good look.

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